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Every Saturday morning I walk across Mexico Highway 190 from the home for needy children in Oaxaca, Mexico, where I volunteer,  to Centro De Intenamiento Feminil De Tanivet, otherwise know as the women’s prison.  Usually I look forward to this time where I teach English class and share the Gospel with incarcerated women.  Sometimes, I admit, I think of other things that I would rather be doing.  On those occasions,  Jesus words from Matthew 25 comes to mind, “I was in prison, and you visited me.”  They become a mantra for me which I repeat over and over.  I see Jesus’ face in the faces of my students, and thinking about each one of them, I repeat the phrase over and over, “I was in prison and you visited me.”

WOMAN in jail


I was in prison and you visited me.

woman in prison1


I was in prison and you visited me.


I was in prison and you visited me.



This last Saturday was one of those days when I thought about all the things I needed to do at the home for needy children, and my mind changed gears from what I wanted to do, to what God wanted me to do for the “least of these” behind bars.  Once again those old, familiar words of Jesus came to mind, “I was in prison and you visited me.”    But that time I thought of those words differently.  Instead of Jesus saying those words to me, I began to say those words to Jesus.  “I was in prison and you visited ME!

I realized that long before I began to “visit Jesus in prison” he had visited me in prison.  I was in a spiritual prison of sin, pride and selfishness.  I was held captive by the world, the flesh and the Devil.  I was a slave to evil desires and the lusts of the flesh.  And then one day, Jesus came to visit.  He not only visited me, but thanks be to God, He set me free!    I was like Peter, bound by chains in the gloomy depths of the jail, and then the chains were broken and an angel guided him to freedom.  I was like the Hebrews in Egypt, tormented by cruel taskmasters, and then they walked to freedom, delivered by a gracious and compassionate God.

The next time I read Matthew 25, I will think differently about Jesus words.  He talked about being hungry and thirsty; being naked and a stranger.  Being sick and in prison.  Before I think about those I help who experience these conditions, I will remember that I too, spiritually speaking, was hungry and thirsty and naked and sick.  I was a stranger to God’s holiness and righteousness.  I was bound by sin and chained to a seemingly hopeless situation.  And then Jesus visited me, and set me free!  Glory hallelujah, Jesus set me free!

What jail cell are you in?  Maybe you are captive to an addiction, depression, anxiety or anger.  Jesus stands outside your cell door knocking.  He wants to come into your hopeless situation and not only visit you, but set you free.  Think about it.  He loves you and wants you to be happy.


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