Freedom for Prisoners!

Last week I wrote a blog called ‘Good news to the poor‘ in which I referred to the verses from Luke 4/Isaiah 61. This verse happens to be the motto for Athletes in Action’s summer outreach to Africa. Good news for the poor, sight to the blind, freedom for prisoners. And because they had their spring event last weekend, Matthijs asked me to write on this theme also. Too late and unexpectedly, I got some inspiration yesterday – so here it is, Matthijs.

The inspiration comes again from a meeting in church – the same where I met Nermin last week. (He was there again, by the way; this time he had pain in his arm and chest because he had had a scooter accident just an hour before. Refused to go to the hospital and left the church premises before the service started…) Anyway. After the service yesterday, I got to talk to a visitor who told me a bit of his story. A guy with Middle-Eastern background, a political refugee who, as a student, had stood up for freedom for his ethnic group. He has paid for that ever since: imprisoned without any notice; tortured for six months, chained to hands and feet in a prison cell with Koran verses on the loudspeakers 24/7. Released after media pressure (through Amnesty International) and now in The Netherlands for already 20 years. The sad story is that his life is still heavily marked by his past. In recent years he lost his wife & family in divorce, his home, his job… and is in fact as much captive as he was back in the prison cell.

We talked about his first church experience. He was touched by the atmosphere, the people, the view of God and religion. ‘I’ve seen too much of the effects of true islam to be a muslim’, he said; ‘I know I should learn more about Jesus’. And that’s what we’re going to do the next few weeks – helping him to understand what it is all about. Good news for the poor of spirit, freedom to those captured in their own fears and hurts, sight to those that lost all hope…

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners…

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