A Man Did Time For Me
Prison life has always fascinated me. It’s another world inside those walls behind the fence. I’ve watched numerous prison movies and documentaries. The whole concept of survival in a place like that is interesting to me. I once had a friend who spent eighteen years of his life behind bars. His stories intrigued me as I listened to the things that went on behind the barbed wire.
As much as I am interested in prison life, I definitely would not want to go to prison!
Just the thought of it brings on a sickening feeling.
I was watching a movie recently about the life of Christopher Wallace, aka Biggie Smalls or the Notorious B.I.G. In the movie, Christopher was running from the police and he was carrying a weapon. As he was running he ditched the gun in a trash can. He was eventually caught and the police found the gun. They just didn’t know if the gun belonged to him or his friend who was with him at the time. Christopher had already done time and his music career was in the beginning stages of taking off. His friend told him he would take the gun charge for him so that he could get his music career going. It would have been a three year sentence. Christopher reluctantly agreed. Being this was a movie, I don’t really know how true the story line is but I do know that there are men and women who are doing time for someone else. That is true friendship and love for a friend.
I wonder if I would ever do time for someone else. I think about my kids or wife and I think I would do it for them. I don’t believe I will ever be put in that position but the point of doing someone else’s prison time is a very curious concept.
In my thought process, I see Jesus as doing time for me. How could the Almighty Son of God become a human, deal with temptations and human issues and then die? How is that even possible? I know that we read about that happening in myths and legends. I also know that many people believe that Jesus wasn’t the son of God. I know that many people don’t believe that Jesus was fully God and fully man.
But I believe it! I don’t know and understand all the intricacies involved in it but I believe it.
Jesus “did time” as a human being. He willingly became “imprisoned” in a human body with human limitations. The most miraculous part of it all was that he chose to do it. He chose to lay aside all his abilities as God and experience life as a normal human being.
The Bible tells us that he was tempted in every way that we are. I don’t think that most of us have ever thought deeply about that. We read about his temptations in Matthew 4, but we don’t see any temptations beyond that listed in the Bible. I believe that he was tempted to lust after women, to steal, to lie, to cheat, to do things that would make life easier for him. I am tempted with those things and so is the rest of humanity.
Temptation is a part of our daily lives. The good news is that God understands our weaknesses as humans because Jesus did time as a human. I don’t understand prison life because I have never been there but someone who has been will understand the harsh realities of prison life . . . because they have been there.
Jesus has been there as a human being! He understands our weaknesses and frailties.
Because Jesus understands he is able to give mercy and compassion. He is able to sympathize with our weaknesses. He is able to come alongside us and help us carry the burden. He is able to pray for us because of his vast knowledge of the human experience.
The things I have experienced in my life bring me an understanding so that I can comfort, help and guide others who are facing similar experiences. However, I have found myself out of my league when dealing with someone who has gone through something I have never experienced. I have no point of reference. I have no understanding.
Jesus isn’t like that though. Somehow, during his time on earth, he managed to experience all that comes against humanity. I don’t think that he experienced every single little temptation that we do, like the temptation to smoke a cigarette. But I think that the basic temptations of life were experienced by Jesus. I believe that Jesus dealt with things that are related to the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life (1 John 2:16).
I believe that our entire temptations boil down to a few basic temptations, such as the need to feel loved, the need for acceptance, the need to feel validated, etc. I believe we all do things for a reason. Every time we do something wrong, there is usually a deeper reason for it. I believe that Jesus’ temptations were in the areas of trying to fill needs within his life that would replace his dependency upon God. That’s simply my opinion and it would make a great discussion but that’s for another time.
Jesus did time for me as a fellow human being. I wonder when Jesus realized that He was the Son of God. I wonder if he felt the limitations of humanity. I wonder if he was ever tempted to use his abilities as God to get himself out of situation. I know that in the Garden of Gethsemane on the night of his betrayal and arrest he appealed to God for deliverance. He admitted that he could call down angels to fight his battle but he didn’t. He accepted the mission of death.
I don’t believe that Jesus looked at his time as earth as “doing time.” When you love someone you will go to whatever lengths necessary to help them. That’s what Jesus did for humanity.
The Creator became the created. God became man. The Son became a son. Life experienced death. Jesus did time for me and you. He is the man that “did time” for all of us.