THERE IS POWER IN THE NAME OF JESUS
POWER IN THE NAME OF JESUS
POWER IN THE NAME OF JESUS
The following story appeared in the January 1995 issue of Guideposts:
As one who has served time in prison, and has since spent most of my life working in them, I’ll never forget the most unusual prison I’ve ever visited.
Called Humaita Prison, it is in São José dos Campos in Brazil. Formerly a government prison, it is now operated by Prison Fellowship Brazil as an alternative prison, without armed guards or high-tech security. Instead, it is run on the Christian principles of love of God and respect for men.
Humaita has only two full-time staff; the rest of the work is done by the 730 inmates serving time for everything from murder and assault to robbery and drug-related crimes. Every man is assigned another inmate to whom he is accountable. In addition, each prisoner is assigned a volunteer mentor from the outside who works with him during his term and after his release. Prisoners take classes on character development and are encouraged to participate in educational and religious programs.
When I visited this prison, I found the inmates smiling—particularly the murderer who held the keys, 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 were decorated with motivational sayings and Scripture.
Humaita has an astonishing record. Its recidivism rate is 4 percent, compared to 75 percent in the rest of Brazil. How is that possible?
I saw the answer when my inmate guide escorted me to the notorious cell once used for solitary punishment. Today, he told me, it always houses the same inmate. As we reached the end of the long concrete corridor and he put the key into 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 swung open the massive door, and I saw the prisoner in that cell: a crucifix, beautifully carved—Jesus, hanging on the cross.
“He’s doing time for the rest of us,” my guide said softly.
16 It happened that as we were going to the place of prayer, a slave-girl having a spirit of divination met us, who was bringing her masters much profit by fortune-telling. 17 Following after Paul and us, she kept crying out, saying, “These men are bond-servants of the Most High God, who are proclaiming to you the way of salvation.” 18 She continued doing this for many days. But Paul was greatly annoyed, and turned and said to the spirit, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her!” And it came out at that very moment.
22 The crowd rose up together against them, and the chief magistrates tore their robes off them and proceeded to order them to be beaten with rods. 23 When they had struck them with many blows, they threw them into prison, commanding the jailer to guard them securely; 24 and he, having received such a command, threw them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks. 25 But about midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns of praise to God, and the prisoners were listening to them; 26 and suddenly there came a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison house were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were unfastened. 27 When the jailer awoke and saw the prison doors opened, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, supposing that the prisoners had escaped. 28 But Paul cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Do not harm yourself, for we are all here!” 29 And he called for lights and rushed in, and trembling with fear he fell down before Paul and Silas, 30 and after he brought them out, he said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” 31 They said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” 32 And they spoke the word of the Lord to him together with all who were in his house. 33 And he took them that very hour of the night and washed their wounds, and immediately he was baptized, he and all his household. 34 And he brought them into his house and set food before them, and rejoiced greatly, having believed in God with his whole household.
Note: This is after Babel when people rejected God and He disinherits them. Only afterwords does He found a new family, Israel. They will be specially guided to bring forth God’s plan to reclaim the nations from their rebellion.
8 When the Most High gave to the nations their inheritance, when he divided mankind, he fixed the borders of the peoples according to the number of the sons of God.
8 When the Most High distributed nations as he scattered the descendants of Adam, he set up boundaries for the nations according to the number of the angels of God.
8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
I. THE NAME OF JESUS OVERCOMES THE POWER OF SPIRITUAL OPPRESSION. (17-18)
a. False gods flee before Him. (The spirit of Python).
b. People seeking worldly profit will oppose you. (Prison)
24 “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.
II. CHRIST’S PRESENCE CAN BREAK YOU OUT OF ANY PRISON.
3 Come, let us tell of the Lord’s greatness; let us exalt his name together. 4 I prayed to the Lord, and he answered me. He freed me from all my fears. 5 Those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy; no shadow of shame will darken their faces. 6 In my desperation I prayed, and the Lord listened; he saved me from all my troubles.
Watch Casting Crowns “Praise You in the Storm” today:
III. YOUR PRAISE TO JESUS AND FAITHFULNESS TO GOD’S COMMANDS OPENS THE DOOR TO WITNESS.
QUESTIONS TO REVIEW:
Do you know of someone who needs Prayer? Have you specifically offered to pray with them?
Where have you allowed troubles to keep you from praising Jesus?
Is your life song a praise to Jesus?
How can you improve your impact for Christ in your areas of influence? (Work, school, family, neighbors)