By James Washington (The Dallas Weekly, NNPA Member)
I remember a while back I heard Bishop T.D. Jakes of the Potters House preach a sermon that still resonates with me to this day. The gist of it was that a good portion of the Bible was written from a jail cell. I’m pretty sure his overall message had something to do with the church’s outreach ministry, which I understand to be significant. What struck me then and remains with me now is the reality of God’s Word and direction coming from the steadfast faith of those imprisoned. 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 test. The thing is have you ever wondered why God’s teachings are so feared by those who believe in other religions, or no religion at all?
At one time 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’m a candidate for institutional oppression. If you’re a believer, there are things in this world that want you dead. The odd thing about what Bishop Jakes said was and is that I don’t view myself as a threat to anyone based on my belief in one God, the Holy Trinity and the truth of Jesus Christ. But the world in which I live does. I suppose a larger issue might 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 you and 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 so-called 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 philosophy will ultimately attack and undermine entrenched institutional power of all kinds especially that contained within the church. 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, or so it sometimes appears. 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. It’s a light, a very bright light illuminating the darkness that surrounds many a non-believer. All I can encourage you to do in the face of all this is to stay the course and know our defense attorney has already argued this case. The prosecuting attorney has already lost. So when you’re alone in your cell, remember this battle you’re in is over. The verdict is in. We win. Be humble in your victory.
May God bless and keep you always.
The Dallas Weekly is a member publication of the NNPA. Learn more about becoming a member at NNPA.org.