Pastor Dewey asked me to share what moves me the most about the resurrection of Christ. As I contemplated this, here’s what moves me …
Almost ten years ago, my son was arrested and subsequently convicted to state prison for tragic crimes. With our son being raised in a Christian home, this was something I never imagined would happen in our family.
Over the years I’ve had a series of conversations with the Lord about our family’s situation. I’ve compiled the dialogue I’ve had with the Lord in this post.
I asked the Lord, “Your word says that Jesus understands everything we go through. How is that so with the prisoner and the prison family?”
Hebrews 4:15 says, “Jesus our High Priest is able to sympathize with each of us. He was tempted in every way we have been, but yet He never ever sinned.”
That phrase “to sympathize with” in the Greek means “to share an experience with someone or to sympathize with and have compassion for someone.”[i]
So after I realized that Jesus sympathizes with every experience we have, He began to let me see a movie in my mind’s eye to see how he sympathizes with the convicted and the families of the convicted.
Jesus never sinned, meaning He never committed any crimes against God His Father or society. But yet, those who did not like Him filed false charges against Him.
One of the men in His inner circle, the one who handled the financial affairs, betrayed Him for 30 pieces of silver.
Then Jesus was arrested illegally in the middle of the night. Not only that, but they also came to arrest Him fully armed. He told them to put their swords away as they were no good because if He wanted, He could call on a legion of angels and their swords wouldn’t work anyway.
I imagined that if Jesus would have been illegally arrested in our times, the police would have come to Him in full riot gear and automatic weapons. We’ve all seen those kinds of scenes on television whether in a movie or on the news.
So Jesus can sympathize with those who were arrested by fully armed police.
After his arrest, those with whom He spent three years pouring His life into them, teaching them, preparing them to become apostles, fled and hid. His best friends deserted Him. Peter even denied that He knew Jesus, not once but three times.
Jesus can sympathize with the prisoner and prison family who feels deserted by those they love after imprisonment.
Then He was tried three times. Not a single trial was fair or legal. Three times He was falsely accused, and false witnesses testified against Him.
So Jesus sympathizes with the prisoner and prison family as He knows that there are unfair trials.
Though Jesus never sinned, and this was unjust, He knew His Father allowed this to take place. It was the plan since the foundation of the world.
Jesus’ trust in His Father was at such a level that He endured the pain of the persecution. Through the process, He was tortured to the point He was beyond recognition. He suffered beyond our comprehension.
Not only did He suffer the physical pain, He endured the slanderous remarks made about him. The mob shouted curse words and swore at Him. Can you just imagine the filthy talk in today’s language? Words do hurt.
He suffered the cruel and unusual punishment. How much was of His blood spilled before He even hung on the cross?
Yet, Jesus never defended Himself. He only said, “It is as you say.”
Jesus sympathizes with the accused and the convicted. At this point, though undeserved, Jesus became a convict.
Even with no evidence to support it, public pressure forced the court to impose the death penalty upon Jesus. Did you get that? Public pressure. Do you see public pressure influencing trials in our society today?
Jesus sympathizes with the prisoner and the prison families who endure trials motivated by public pressure.
After the death penalty sentence was rendered, it was carried out immediately with no opportunity for an appeal. Death on the cross was the cruelest form of death there was.
They hammered nails into His hands and feet. They raised the cross to allow His life to seep out of Him.
As He hung there on the tree, the crowds mocked Him. They threw lots for his robe. As life drained from His body, He said, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.”
Jesus sympathizes with the prisoner and prison family who has been mocked and publicly humiliated with their opinions posted all over the internet. Yet because of His love, He forgave them all and asked His Father to forgive them too.
While hanging on the cross, Jesus saw His mother watching Him with John by her side. He said to His mother, “Woman, behold your son!” and to John He said, “Behold your mother!” After that John took care of Mary.
Jesus sympathizes with the convict’s family and desires to see they are taken care of during their absence.
After Jesus was buried, for three days there was division among the people. They either rejoiced at His death believing they rid themselves of their problem. Or they mourned deeply as they felt that all their hope in the future of their country died with Him.
Jesus sympathizes with the prisoner and prison family that feels like their lives were sealed up in a tomb when they were sent to prison.
On the third day after Jesus was buried, there was an empty tomb. Jesus was gone. He was not missing. His life was resurrected. The power of God raised up the lifeless body of Christ and promoted Him to a glorified state.
Jesus is alive!
And because He never sinned, His blood atones for you and for me. We now have access to the same resurrection power that raised Him up.
Whatever is dying in your life, Jesus can resurrect it!
Jesus sympathizes with the prisoner and prison family whether it was a wrongful conviction or they deserved what they got.
The earthly courts sentenced Jesus to death. But God, the Righteous Judge of all, commuted Jesus’ sentence to time served after three days, then raise Him from the dead.
Jesus sympathizes with the prisoner and prison family who are doing time. Though the earthly courts impose a sentence, the Righteous Judge of all can overturn it.
As I talked about these things with the Lord, I realized Jesus truly does understand the prisoner and the prison family. He’s lived through it Himself. It’s just that I’ve never seen it in the Word until He revealed it to me.
Then I asked, “Lord, I trust You with my son’s life. But what about his record when he is released? Will you be able to clear his name, so he doesn’t have a criminal record?
In my mental movie, I saw Jesus walk into the room and show me His scars like He did with the disciples when He showed them His hands and feet. Thomas even put his fingers inside the scars on Jesus’ body. In His resurrected body, the scars remained so we would believe.
The scars are the testimony of Jesus!
Jesus sympathizes with the prisoner and the prison family as He too has a criminal record that we read about in the gospels and the scars are His testimony.
My son’s record and our story are our testimony. As children of God, we are a new creation, Redeemed and restored by the blood of the Lamb. The one who paid the price that we cannot pay. That’s what the resurrection of Christ means to me.
To God be the glory!
[i] Renner, Rick, Jesus Understands Your Struggles, https://renner.org/devotionals/jesus-understands-your-struggles/
Shonda Whitworth is passionate about sharing the love and hope we have in Christ our Lord.
She does that in her book, Appeal to the Courtroom of Heaven. This book contains more that 30 Scripture-based prayers to pray in time of need. You will find prayers on overcoming fear, worry, and anxiety and much more.
Author Ann Tatlock wrote, “This book isn’t just for people who have a loved one in prison, it’s for anyone.”
This book is available on Amazon.com.
Click here to learn more about this book and read Chapter 1.