A Prison on Fire

The tragic headline this week out of Honduras triggered a collective gasp from the world community. Authorities are not sure if the prison fire in Comayagua was sparked by an electrical short-circuit or whether inmate rioting might have been the cause. The grim reality is that fire broke out, and before prisoners could be unlocked from their cells at least 300 of them perished in the inferno. The nation of Honduras mourns. And we grieve their loss. The Scripture repeatedly likens our fallen civilization to a prison house. Thus Jesus himself described His own messianic mission, “To proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound” (Isaiah 61:1; cf Luke 4:18). Then surely it is the mission of Christ’s church—that community of liberated prisoners who have been set free in Him—to expend our greatest energies and our most valuable resources to join our Master in seeking to rescue every entrapped life we can for Him. Our “iPerceive: A Future You Can Count On” public lecture series in St. Joseph these past nine nights (concluding tonight) has had as its mission Jesus’ call to “proclaim liberty”—the freedom of the everlasting gospel—to men, women and young adults seeking that life-changing release. But nine nights are hardly the parameters for this university congregation’s “opening of the prison” mission for the Savior. Join me in earnestly praying that the Spirit of Jesus will open our eyes, collectively as well as individually, to those in our immediate worlds who still long for His release from the entrapment of guilt, from enchaining practices, from weary and lifeless, repetitive traditions. “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor . . . to heal the brokenhearted” (Luke 4:18). May that same Spirit anoint us, too, for that same mission—before the prison house of this civilization goes up in flames and it is too late.