“But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” (John 20:31)
Those words summarize John’s eyewitness testimony about the Messiah. He wanted every reader of his gospel to know and believe what he knew and believed about Jesus.
The apostle had just related the events of that most remarkable Sunday:
- Hearing Mary’s breathless report that Jesus’ tomb was empty.
- Arriving breathless at Joseph’s garden, panting beside Peter, after sprinting there to verify Mary’s account.
- Feeling the breath of their alive-again Master as he appeared to his stunned students behind locked doors.
- Becoming annoyed at Thomas’ breathtaking refusal to accept their ten-fold testimony that “Jesus was just here, alive and breathing!”
- Breathing a sigh of relief one week later as Thomas touched the wounded Warrior and confessed, “My Lord and my God!
Has John’s intention–“that you may believe”—been realized in your heart? Did you enter church on Resurrection Day breathlessly eager to shout, “Christ is risen! Alleluia!” Did you breathe in the scent of lilies and thank God for the Death Destroyer? Did you feel the breath of Jesus calming your guilt-gorged heart with four glorious words: “Peace be with you”?
The apostles declared and defended the truth to their last breath. As long as you have breath, you can tell the old, old story of Jesus and his love, of his resurrection and your restoration.
Now slip in behind some other locked doors, like the Breath of Life did as the sun set on the day the Son rose. These steel doors isolate law breakers from law keepers. Yet law breakers (that’s all of us!) are not meant to be isolated from the one perfect Law Keeper.
Sit beside an incarcerated man or woman who has never known the true God, or his love for the fallen, or the true meaning of Easter. Listen to his breath pause as he reads, “Peace be with you.” Feel her breath exhale in a rush of relief, then inhale the fresh air of forgiveness. “These are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.”
WELS Prison Ministry exists to breathe new life into dead souls, so that others may know and believe what you know and believe. Will you help us?
By Pastor David Rosenbaum, Prison Ministry Committee member
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