Light in the Darkness

  This is a special edition of BreakPoint from the New Jersey State Prison. Here now with Prison Fellowship founder and chairman, Chuck Colson, is BreakPoint reporter Jim Sanders. JS: We're just winding up here in the New Jersey State Prison. Chuck, tell us why did you spend your Easter Sunday in a prison? CC: Where else would you want to be? To me this is the most joyous, exiting, thrilling, wonderful way to celebrate the Resurrection. Easter is not about chocolate bunnies. This is not about toys or Easter egg hunts. What we celebrate this day is that Jesus Christ was raised from the dead. The tomb is empty. There is no place I would rather be. For the last 21 or 22 years now I have visited the tombs of our society, like this one, because Jesus is risen. If people could be here and experience the joy of this Easter morning service they'd realize that we're preaching to men to whom you don't have to explain (as you do on the outside) that they are sinners. They know it. When you preach the redeeming love of Christ, you see their faces come alive. The excitement I see in the eyes of these men is enough to keep me going for another twelve months. I absolutely love it. There is no place where I feel the power of the Resurrection more than I do in a prison. It is increasingly difficult to get the Gospel message across in our culture today. Nobody seems bothered about anything, whether we're dropping bombs in Belgrade or whether we're seeing sin and immorality in high places in our government. There's no feeling that anything matters. But in here things do matter deeply—and people in here really care about sin and truth. So there is a reality to the Gospel in a place like this that I find nowhere else. When I think about the great hope of the millennium, that there will be a Great Awakening within the Church, and that the Church will then revive society. This is where I see the Church really being revived. This is where I see the Church coming alive. JS: Watching you this morning, listening to the response of the inmates here, the sense I have is that you, Chuck, have the credibility you do preaching that message to this audience because you have been in prison yourself. CC: It helps me, of course, that I have been here, and the men and women in prisons know that I understand what they are experiencing. But I think anybody could bring that message here. All across this country people speak in prisons—people who have not been locked up, because the Gospel is the reality. I mean, this is where the Gospel really takes root. You sense the excitement in here. There is nothing quite like it. When I come out of prison on an Easter Sunday, I wish the whole world could experience what I just experienced, because here is the reality of the Gospel. Here is the Resurrection. Here are lives transformed in the darkest places on earth, believe me. You walk out of this place knowing there is hope. Don't despair. Don't be afraid. God is changing lives in the darkest places. There is hope.


Chuck Colson


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