Incarcerated – Part 4

by DanWolgemuth on May 24, 2019

February 7, 2010, immediately after the New Orleans Saints defeated the Indianapolis Colts in the Super Bowl, CBS launched a new series called Undercover Boss. It was an instant smash hit.

The premise… each episode features a high-ranking executive or the owner of a corporation going undercover as an entry-level employee in his or her own company. The executives alter their appearance and assume an alias and fictional back-story. By the end of the episode, true identities are revealed as compelling and meaningful story lines are exposed.

And so, I’ve wondered. Was my journey into the detention center my own version of Undercover Boss? I have the business card that would make this a reasonable assertion. Sounds compelling and engaging and headline worthy. The problem is that it has no connection to the reality of my experience. More significantly, it doesn’t have any correlation to the reflection of Jesus in Matthew 25:36… “I was in prison and you came to me.”

What I’m beginning to understand is that when I engaged with KB (the 13-year-old who called me Papa Leroy), I wasn’t Jesus to him, he was Jesus to me. The “I Am…” invited me into the “I Was…”.

Jesus put Himself in the place of KB. The face of that 13-year-old kid was the face of Jesus. Is it any wonder that it was so endearing? So compelling? So unforgettable? Which then invites the question, who was really undercover?

While I have no felony record, my guilt is undeniable. Sure, my crimes are polite and polished. Pride and self-confidence disguise the sin that I so quickly dismiss. I’m locked inside the prison of denial. I’m captive to comfort which keeps me separated from freedom in Christ. I put my trust in me, not He.

And so, the Undercover Boss storyline gets broken, derailed, reworked. Christ, the King… becomes a man. He enters the world, not as an entry level employee, but as a vulnerable baby. By the end of His life on earth, the revelation of His true identity doesn’t invite applause, but hatred, jealousy, and rage.

Is it any wonder that this experience burns in my soul? Is it any wonder why even the telling of the story is compelling? I had an encounter with Jesus. He was in prison clothes. He ate oatmeal and white bread right across from me. He sat in group therapy beside me. It was His voice that called me Papa Leroy. His eyes that paid absolutely no attention to the title on my business card. It was His hand I fist bumped. He said it plainly…

I was…

Jesus. Incarcerated so I could be free. Jesus.

To be continued…

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