The Judge and the Prisoner Prayed Together

by Bill Denton

"For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him" (John 3:17, NASV).

When the world sees authentic love, reconciling people with incredible differences through Jesus Christ, revival always comes."-Ron Lee Davis

Thomas Dodge decided to do some volunteer work with a prison ministry. After spending some time at a prison, the group was leaving. Dodge, however, was walking a prisoner back to his cell. Urgings from other volunteers went ignored. Finally, one said to him, "We really need to get going." To which Dodge replied, "I am Judge Thomas Dodge, and I sentenced this man, Henry Lewis, to die. But since he was placed in this prison he has become a Christian, my brother in the Lord. We just need a few more minutes to forgive each other, and to pray for each other, and to love each other."

Ron Lee Davis wrote about this encounter in his book, A Forgiving God in an Unforgiving World. It illustrates what can happen, not only between human beings and God, but between two people. Sin separates the sinner from his God, and it also separates him from his fellow man. The problem is not simply distance. The problem is that sin puts us on opposing sides, both with God and with other people. The hurt, pain, disgrace, sorrow, and misery of sinful acts can never bring the perpetrators of such things together with those against whom they sin. That is true whether we are talking about sin against God or sin against others.

It is easy to believe that nothing can heal such separation, but that is precisely what God intends to do through the blood of Jesus. The cleansing is so thorough that a convicted murderer is released from the guilt of his sin. The cleansing is so pure and holy that the vilest of offenders is readily accepted into sonship with the Father. The cleansing is so dramatic that it even brings together those people who once stood on opposing sides of the sin-caused chasm of separation.

Thomas Dodge and Henry Lewis found something in common one day inside the walls of a prison. What they found could never be provided by the courts of human law. The embrace of brotherhood was founded on the reality of a slain Savior and a resurrected Lord. The bond of kinship was not according to physical birth, not similar social status, not education or wealth, nor anything else that could be found among human values. That bond was a spiritual bond where each man sought forgiveness and reconciliation in Christ.

Copyright 2000, Dr. Bill Denton

All rights reserved.