Jesus On Death Row

url-1As I was sitting on death row preparing to speak to the men yesterday, I was struck by how much Jesus had in common with these men. He probably had much more similarity to them than He did with the average church member. This was a little shocking at first thought but it did make it much easier to speak to the inmates. While I had little that they could relate to, I was telling them about someone who had been exactly where they were and come out victorious.

Jesus was the ultimate condemned man. He was rejected by His own people and turned over to the hostile government who considered Him a dangerous, radical revolutionary. The leaders of his people demanded that the government execute Him. He not only suffered the rejection and humiliation of the trial and the abusive treatment of his captors but He had to watch his friends and family suffer with Him. Jesus approached death knowing that He had lost everything important to him in this world. Sometimes we don’t think of Jesus feeling the weight of these things because He was the Son of God but the evening in the Garden of Gethsemane is a powerful reminder of the humanity of Christ. He knew what was coming and it caused Him great anguish. Matthew Chapters 26-28

The men on death row face the identical situation. Their people have abandoned them and in some cases turned them over to authorities. The government has condemned them to death. They watch helplessly as the few friends and family they have left suffer with them. They have lost everything good in life. Don’t think that I am trying to make you feel sorry for them. They have committed heinous crimes that deserve punishment but we can’t forget that Jesus was being punished for voluntarily accepting our guilt. 1 John 2:2 He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not only for ours, but also for those of the whole world. In proxy, he was guilty of all the evil we have done. My point is that Jesus has a great deal in common with these men.

We are sent to spread good news of the Kingdom of God but what good news can we give people in this situation? The good news that Jesus was victorious in the exact situation they find themselves in. That after the government executed Jesus, He didn’t stay dead. The grave couldn’t hold Him down. Jesus promised that if they place their trust in Him, He would free them from death just as He was freed. John 11:25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in Me, even if he dies, will live.

This good news doesn’t just apply to men on death row. We all face bleak situations in life. These situations may involve physical illness, financial difficulties, relationship problems, fear, depression, abuse or death but there is hope in all of these. Jesus offers answers to all of life’s situations. They may be temporarily solved through miraculous intervention or influence but ultimately the solution is eternal life in the Kingdom of God. We all face a death sentence. It doesn’t matter if our lives last ten minutes or one hundred years. They are just a moment in eternity. We must remember what Jesus said.  John 16:33 I have told you these things so that in Me you may have peace. You will have suffering in this world. Be courageous! I have conquered the world.” We can have victory in life and over death if we put our trust in Jesus Christ. 


All scripture is from the Holman Christian Standard Bible

%d bloggers like this: