“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ Matthew 25:31-40
This is why I call my blog, “Visiting Jesus in Prison.” It has been a tremendous encouragement to me over the years to know that Jesus counts whatever I can do for the men and women I visit in the prisons and jails as service done directly to him. On the other hand, it charges me with a heavy responsibility to do it right: To show each one the respect, compassion, understanding, and agape love that Jesus commands me to. No matter how much the stain and corruption of sin may seem to hide it, each one is made in the image of God. (Genesis 1:27)
The scriptural principle of The Imitation of Christ calls upon us not only to see Jesus in everyone we meet, but to be Jesus to everyone we meet. (John 13:14-15; 1 Peter 2:5-6; 1 John 2:5-6) I once read that the worst thing Mother Theresa would ever say about anyone was, “Today I met Jesus in a particularly distressing disguise.” I believe very strongly that when we try to see Jesus in others and to be Jesus to them, it helps bring out the image of God hidden in them, and creates a relationship in which they can start to see Jesus in us and be Jesus to us.