Prisons are places of confinement for people convicted of serious crimes. All who are incarcerated are presumed to be guilty of some misconduct.
Have you ever imagined how you would feel living in prison? Such a thought clearly falls in the category of a nightmare. Prison conditions vary depending upon the state or country in which they are located.
In Biblical times the treatment of prisoners varied according to the character of the offense. Hard labor and physical mutilation were not uncommon. Such practices still exist in certain countries of the world.
Prisons in many parts of the world are more humane and, in some cases, resemble mini residences. Nevertheless, among others, there remain complaints of prisoner abuse, unsafe conditions, severe overcrowding, and dirty conditions.
Prison sentences often carry extended verdicts—fifteen years, twenty years, and even life imprisonment. Specific offenses define lesser sentences.
Except for breathing, every aspect of life inside the prison walls (eating, sleeping, dressing, free or “yard” time), is a decision controlled by the “keepers” of the prison. There is no freedom for prisoners. They are condemned.
As we approach two of our most sacred celebrations, we become mindful that they both represent freedom.
Passover (Pesach) is the Jewish celebration of freedom from Egyptian bondage and slavery by the hand of God.
Forced to serve Pharoah without pay and under inhumane conditions, the Israelites feared the domination of Pharoah’s cruel taskmasters who heaped upon them unimaginable tasks of work until they dropped from exhaustion. They were condemned to a life of imprisonment.
God’s extraordinary intervention caused the “Angel of Death” to “pass over” every Jewish household. They escaped death. Through a series of miracles performed by God through Moses, God’s chosen leader, the Israelites were miraculously freed from Egyptian bondage.
During Nisan, the beginning month of the Jewish calendar, the Jewish people remember and celebrate how God delivered their people from the bondage of the Egyptian slave master, Pharoah.
Christians, throughout the world, will also celebrate this April their freedom from condemnation and bondage caused by guilt, shame, and a polluted mind and spirit.
As they celebrate the events leading to the resurrection of their risen Savior (His death and burial), it symbolizes for them a future filled with freedom, rescue, and redemption. God provided a Mediator who stands between flawed man and Himself.
Unlike human prison keepers who control every inch of prison existence, the Holy Keeper wraps everyone, without interruption, in eternal love and provides the breath of life and freedom for all His creations.
There is no need to despair or be depressed—“If the son has set you free, you will be free indeed.” (John 8:36)