Summary: If Jesus is better than anything else - what effect will that have on my life - in the marketplace - and at home as well as in church?
Hebrews 1. 1-4 and 2.5-12
I’d like to take a look at the epistle this morning from the book of Hebrews.
Did it strike you as it did me that whereas God in the past spoke to his people through the prophets, he has spoken to us by his Jesus , his Son.
We have direct access to God, through Jesus
His Holy Spirit is in us who are Christians
The Reformation was all about not needing a priest to interpret God’s will for the man in the street
And the essence of my talk today is that Jesus is better than.....
We live in a society where people might say: Christianity is good for you – but it isn’t for me
They try all sorts of things
Islam, Buddhism Hinduism – all religions
They try self help systems
Positive thinking, Yoga, Zen Buddhism.
But I want to say to you that if Jesus gets hold of your life – and you allow him
JESUS is BETTER
Take for example the prison system. We try to reform criminals through getting them to do courses. If you get qualified you’ll get a job and you don’t need to come back in – forgetting that normal businessmen and women don’t like to employ ex cons.
So I was fascinated when I read about Humaita Prison in Brazil
Charles Colson, Director of Prison Fellowship and former Counsel to the President of the United States Richard Nixon, who himself went to prison as a result of the Watergate affair wrote this:
“Humaita Prison in Brazil is a remarkable place.
Almost twenty years ago, it was a rotting building where prisoners were tortured.
Then three Christian men went to the government and asked permission to take over the prison.
They got permission.
And they started to run Humaita as a Christian prison.
They did not restrict it to Christian inmates, but you couldn’t stay there very long without coming to know Christ.
It is an extraordinary prison–different from anything any of us have experienced.
Inmates open the doors; they have the keys.
Security as we understand it is totally compromised.
When an inmate needs to leave the premises to go to court, that inmate is escorted by other inmates.
The staff is made up entirely of volunteers.
It is overseen by the judge responsible for all the prisons in that area, and the judge is supported because this prison is incredibly productive and stable.
“It is the cleanest prison I have ever seen.
The cleaning schedule is established and carried out by the inmates.
We asked inmates why they stayed when they could just walk away.
Some had been assigned to other prisons and had tried for years to get assigned to this one because they believed they could escape easily.
But one inmate expressed the reason for his presence eloquently:
“When I walked into this prison, they took off handcuffs of steel and replaced them with handcuffs of love.”
They assign people to a buddy system. Each new inmate is assigned to an elder who loves the Lord.
And at every single meal, they stand before the meal and recite the Lord’s Prayer in Portuguese.
If anyone ever asks whether Christ makes a difference, send them down to San Jose des Campos in Brazil to the Humaita Prison.