Incarcerated – The Wrap Up… for Now

by DanWolgemuth on June 28, 2019

Now the men who were holding Jesus in custody were mocking him as they beat him. (Luke 22:63, ESV)

Incarcerated. Yes, Jesus was locked up. In custody. The Prince of Peace. The Creator of the Universe, shackled.

For a night, Emmanuel behind bars. Then, as morning broke, the plot coalesced. Hatred pounded the gavel. Religious jealousy occupied the jury box.

Pilate’s solution was “punish and release”. A perfect lamb. Spotless. Now ripped open. Now mocked.

It was the unfettered power of grace that kept Him there. No garrison or guard could have done what love did.

Just days before, Jesus said that it would be His true sheep that came to Him in prison, and yet none of His followers delivered. Everyone fled. Every one.

Jesus knew the prophetic word… “Strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered…” (Zechariah 13:7, ESV)

He knew. So His instruction in Matthew 25 wasn’t to shame the scattered sheep, but to offer them a picture of where to meet Him, the next time. After His return to His Father. In an act of reconciliation and restoration.

Yes, Jesus could still be found. He would be evident in the faces of the broken, the hungry, the thirsty… and yes, the condemned.

That’s why I saw Him in the JDC. In the face of a 13-year-old. In the eyes of a young man on suicide watch.

For 26 hours I was in a classroom. It was an upper level Theology class.

It was incarnational ministry at its most profound level, and I was the student.

I came. I dressed. I ate. I slept (in a manner of speaking). And I met Jesus. He was there, just like He promised.

He didn’t turn a blind eye to justice. No, He soaked it in grace. Mercy danced with justice and I watched it happen. A witness. His witness.

I’ve said it before… I will never forget those faces… and now I know why. It was Jesus I saw. It was Jesus’ voice I heard.

Jesus, once alone in prison, welcomed me in my prison garb. He sat across from me over an unthinkable meal. He saved me a seat at the group therapy sessions. He shot hoops during recreation time. He wiped my tears as I thought about the unimaginable brokenness.

“I was in prison and you came to me.” (Matthew 25:36b, ESV)

Yes, indeed. I saw Jesus in the JDC. And He didn’t look like me. He looked like them.

“Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves…” (Proverbs 31:8a, NLT)

And speak up I will. Not for my mission, or for Youth For Christ, but for Jesus, my holy, once incarcerated King.

Jesus. Praise Him. Honor Him. Worship Him. Adore Him. Bless Him. Serve and sacrifice for Him. Visit Him.

Jesus. In the JDC.

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