by Rick White

This content is part of a series.

Transformed by the Cross (2 of 3)
Series: Embracing The Cross
Dr. Rick White
Mark 15:21-39

Introduction: There is an impressive prison in Brazil where the inmates are being dramatically transformed by the cross. Charles Colson reported that 25 years ago in the city of San Jose Dos Campos a prison was turned over to 2 Christian laymen who planned to run it on Christian principles. Every prisoner is assigned another inmate to who he is accountable. Every prisoner joins a chapel program or else takes a course in character development. Everyone is required to learn a trade and to make restitution to his victim. In addition, every prisoner is assigned a volunteer family from the outside that works with him during his term and after his release.

After visiting the prison Charles Colson wrote, "I found the inmates smiling, particularly the murderer who opened the gates and let me in. Wherever I walked I saw men at peace, I saw clean living areas, I saw people working industriously. The walls are decorated with Bible verses."

Here is an amazing statistic. Over the past 25 years only 4% of the former inmates have re- offended and returned. Our national (recidivism) rate runs about 90%. How is that possible?

Colson wrote, "I saw the answer when my inmate guide escorted me to the notorious punishment cell once used for torture. 'Today, he told me, that block houses on a single inmate.' As we reached the end of the long concrete corridor and he put the key in the lock he paused and asked, 'Are you sure you want to go in?' Of course, I replied, impatiently, I've been in isolation cells all over the world. Slowly, he slung open the massive door and I saw the prisoner in that punishment cell. . .a crucifix, beautifully carved by the inmates. . .the prisoner, Jesus, hanging on the cross. 'He's doing time for all the rest of us,' my guide said softly."

Now if that system is so effective at that prison in Brazil, why don't we duplicate it here in the United State ...

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