By James Washington
Special to the NNPA from the Houston Forward Times
A while back, I heard Bishop T.D. Jakes of the Potter’s House preach a sermon that really caught my attention and resonates with me all the time. He reminded those in the audience that most of the bible was written from a jail cell. I think his overall message had something to do with his prison outreach ministry, which I understand to be significant. I was so struck, however, by the reality of God’s Word and direction coming from the deep faith of those imprisoned. That concept has never left me. What is it about being a believer, a walking talking believer that somehow frightens those in power so much, that a jail cell is an inevitable and practical answer? History suggests that professing one’s belief in Jesus Christ as Lord can literally be a death sentence. The bible teaches us that eventually our belief will be put to the ultimate test. Have you ever wondered why God’s teachings are so feared by those who believe in other religions?
I used to say Jesus’ message made so much sense that even if He didn’t exist, we should invent Him. Now that I’m saved, I guess you could say I know I’m a candidate for assassination. My point, as I was intrigued by Bishop Jakes’ reference, is that I don’t view myself as a threat to anyone based upon my belief in one God, the Holy Trinity and the truth of Jesus Christ. But the world in which I live does view me in this manner. I suppose a larger issue ought to be, have I done anything or said anything that should land me in jail; if jail is defined as that spiritual place that present day Sadducees and Pharisees want to send people like me?
If I haven’t said or done anything, then maybe I better get going, stir some things up. In their day, the apostles, Paul and others were indeed looked upon as threats to the establishment. That meant governments and principalities, as well as the church hierarchy of that day. If nothing else, I don’t think anyone would argue that on His worst day, Jesus was the quintessential revolutionary. It still amazes me how such principles of unconditional universal love for humankind got Him killed. And then it always hits me that this kind of philosophy will ultimately attack and undermine entrenched institutionalized power of all kinds. That’s when I realize that if you are a believer in Christ, you are most certainly a threat to man. Man craves power and Christianity abdicates all power to Jehovah. We stand as representatives of that truth and stand trial everyday with the world as our judge and jury. That explains that target on the backs of believers throughout history and should remind us all that there is indeed a target on all of our backs. All I can encourage you to do in the face of all this is to stay the course and know our defense attorney is on His way. The prosecuting attorney loses this case. So when you’re alone in your cell remember, you have already won. The battle is over. The verdict is in. We win.
May God bless and keep you always,