The Door Slams

by DanWolgemuth on September 23, 2016

For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. (John 3:17 ESV)

Jesus stood up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.” (John 8:10-11 ESV)

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. (Romans 8:1 ESV)

Guilty. Condemned.

The doors slam and the locks engage for hundreds of thousands of juveniles across the country. Incarceration keeps them off the street, but it does little to change circumstances, opportunity, or outcomes.

Drugs. Gangs. Leaderless homes. Confusion. Despair. Violence.

In a society that isolates and separates… we have the conflicting message of Jesus. In fact, He places Himself in the cell. The sinless son of God puts on the stripes of an inmate.

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

And He invites us to come. To visit. To engage. To invest. To sacrifice. To redeem. To rescue. In His name. For His sake.

Incarcerated but not discarded. Locked up, but not separated from hope.

Jesus hand delivered a message of transformation not condemnation. The perfect judge doesn’t ignore justice, He overlays it with grace.

His mission wasn’t condemnation, but rescue. Mercy. Forgiveness.

“Where are they?” Jesus asked. “Where are the men that brought you here in shame and guilt and exposure?” “Where are the self-righteous religious leaders who are blind to the darkness in their own souls but have twenty-twenty vision to the darkness in yours?” Where are they?


Not just 500,000 juvenile offenders across our country… all of us.

The gavel of condemnation should resound for each of us…

And yet the judge declares with clarity… “no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”

Unleashed. Clean.

To abandon the addiction to sin. To exchange the darkness for light.

Not just fewer juvenile inmates, but sons and daughters of the living God. Not lower recidivism, but brand new lives. Created all over again.

“Neither do I condemn you.”

We meet him there, behind bars.

The Lord sets the prisoners free; (Psalm 146:8a ESV)

Liberty, even in a cell. Set free.

Not simply nameless and faceless statistics. Not a political football to be punted to the next generation.

Young people. With names. With pain. With legitimate convictions.

Embraced by the life giver. Roommates with the King of Kings.

I was in prison and you came to me.

No condemnation. Jesus.

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