Wednesday, August 26, 2015
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Maybe it's because my father-in-law was a corrections officer for a while, and I've heard his stories about the wasted lives behind prison bars. Whatever the reason, I've always admired the men who minister as prison chaplains. That's a tough ministry, but it's a ministry so desperately needed.
My friend Bill works as a prison chaplain. This particular incident he shared with me touched me then and touches me now. Bill had been visiting this cell block and as chaplain, he went out to the exercise yard for some fresh air. Three tough young inmates walked up to him and one said, "Hey, mister, are you broke?" Bill kind of fished around in his pocket and didn't find any money in there. And the inmate said, "It doesn't matter, man. Your money's no good in here anyway. Now, are you broke?" This time the inmate was insistent about it. Here's what he said, "Mister, don't try to minister to people in here if you ain't broke, because we all are."
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "A Broken Savior for Broken People."
You don't have to go inside a prison to find people who are, in the words of that inmate, broke. There's so much pain today and so much heartache from broken things: broken families, broken health, a broken heart, and broken trust. You may be "broke" perhaps even in spite of a life that's successful and an outward image that's looking fine.
Now, our word for today from the Word of God, Hebrews 4:14, "Since we have a great High Priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess." Here Jesus is called High Priest. And we learn from the Old Testament that those are the ones who represented people to God. So Jesus is now our personal representative with God in heaven.
Let's say that young inmate could walk up to Jesus and ask, "Are you broke?" He would need to hear that next verse, verse 15. Here's what it says, "We do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are-yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence." He's walked in our shoes. He's felt what we feel and we can come to Him with confidence.
We're coming to a Savior who has lived the feelings that we are bringing to Him. He knows what it is to be poor. He knows what it feels like to be turned on by your family; to be betrayed by someone very close. It all happened to Him. He knew what it was like to be lonely. He was all of those. This Savior knows our pain. He gets us! There are other people who could empathize. There are some counselors who can help you understand the pain, but only Jesus can carry your pain and begin to heal a lifetime of scars.
He says, "I came to bind up the broken hearted." But the great tragedy could be this: You're needlessly carrying all your hurt alone, because this Savior isn't your Savior, because you've never given yourself to Him. We're all the victims of people's sin, and we're sinners ourselves. Sin is our personal rebellion against our Creator saying, "God, you run the universe and I'll run me" because we're away from the One we were made by. We keep making choices that increase our pain.
But Jesus is saying to you today, "Why are you carrying that all alone? I died for you. Won't you let Me be your Savior? Let me pick up your pain. Let me begin to apply my love to your wounds."
Don't walk alone one more day. Let this be the day you let this Jesus start driving the life that He died for and that He made. You ready for Him to take over? You ready for Him to forgive what only He can forgive and heal what only He can heal? Well, then, why don't you tell Him that right now, "Jesus, I'm yours."
Our website can help you get there. It's ANewStory.com. I hope you'll check it out. Or you can actually text us at 442-244-WORD.
If a person says, "Jesus, I'm broke." Someone who's been broke can help you. You see that mangled body of Jesus on that blood-stained cross, and you see that the Son of God was broke so you don't have to be any more.