Numbered Among the Wicked
“Men will return to God, not because they are good, but because they recognize they are evil.” Archbishop Fulton Sheen
Seven hundred years before Calvary the prophet Isaiah prophesied that the Lord would be numbered with the wicked. Two thousand years after Calvary those inside the walls take comfort knowing the savior of the world was numbered among them.
Three crosses are not just an element of historical detail, they remind those inside the walls that Christ was with them- believers and non-believers. Inmates live under systems where everything seems to be stacked against them, yet the Lord is with them. They share in the judgment, humiliation and pain of the cross, but they also share in His victory.
While on the cross, the good thief initially abuses Jesus, but out of fear of God, changes and addresses Jesus as Lord. He petitions Jesus to remember him in His kingdom. His conversion was late- his first prayer may have been his last. Yet Jesus promised him paradise this day- a promise given to no one else in scripture.
We come to faith at different times and in different ways. My pen pal David summed up his journey by saying:
“People still look at me strange when I tell that my coming to prison did me more good than bad. It is here that I met God, that I learned what manhood was about, that I came to know how to stand up for my beliefs and morals no matter the opposition. It was where I matured into who Christ called me to be. I truly don’t believe that I could have become me if I would have stayed out there. It took all the pressure, abrasions, challenges and trials to shape me. I was pretty stubborn, so He had to make it really hot to melt away the dross I wore as a badge. I truly thank Him for not giving up on me.”
I am blessed to share a spiritual journey with men I visit and with men who write to me. I count myself among the wicked. I am one of them and I share their joy in the victory of Easter!
Peace be with you, Doug