When we read 1 Peter chapter 3 and come to the part where it says Jesus visited the spirits in prison who were disobedient, we assume it was just to minister good things to them. That Jesus would try and get them to choose another path and that they would change their selfish ways and begin honoring the father with their lives.
I would imagine that some of that took place, but I am sure, with what I know about Jesus, fellowship was of the utmost importance.
Anyone can go to jail or prison, but it seems more than not that the poor end up there for whatever reason. (I could tell you why but that’s for another blog!) And there is a natural connection between this population because of what they have been through. Being around them you get a look through life from a different lens.
When you hear of their mistakes and the issues that plague them you want to help because you really do have the answers. But then you find out they weren’t looking for answers, they were searching for understanding. They were longing to be heard. They were hoping that someone would see them in a different light other than the negative one that is always cast.
I recently spent a full day in county jail as I was investigated and I learned the true meaning of probable cause. (I have a blog series coming regarding this experience and prison reform that will come out after Christmas.)
I sat in a holding cell listening to Black, white, Mexican and Cuban guys shoot the shit mostly over nothing but bond together through their infirmities. They helped each other, laughed at each other and bonded — creating a community of sinners that I was glad to be a part of. I was affectionately called “unk” by various members of this community probably because of my age and wisdom. It was funny that during this time on 4 occasions a white guy asked me if I was really their uncle… it made me smile.
We talked about life, love, mother’s influence, dad’s influence (many did not know their dads) and fear. I was able to turn it into a therapy session without anyone noticing that I was a therapist. When they got suspicious I could swear or say something negative about “the system” and my identity would be cloaked again.
I thoroughly enjoyed spending this time and giving of myself. At the end I was far more blessed than the blessings I gave and I have two new friends as a result.
As I was driving home I realized that another reason that Jesus would have made prison visits is because he needed to be rejuvenated and what better way to do that than be with lively people who don’t have to make themselves out to be anything. They’re just free to be… in their own space, in an unlikely place where they can see Jesus’ face!