Bible Society of South Africa

Hope for prisoners – 21 August 2020

By Xanthe Hancox

Bible text(s)

3Remember those who are in prison, as though you were in prison with them. Remember those who are suffering, as though you were suffering as they are.

Hebrews 13:3GNBOpen in Bible reader

What does it mean to remember someone? Is it simply to think about them, recall their situation, perhaps say a prayer?

In Exodus 2:24 we read that while God’s people were slaves in Egypt, God “remembered” his covenant with his people. Now, that doesn’t mean God had forgotten them and then suddenly remembered they were in great need. Though we may not always understand God’s ways, we can be sure that God is always watching over us. Covenantal remembering means calling to mind in order to act on people’s behalf. And as we know, God acted to deliver his people from slavery (Exodus 12).

When God calls us to remember people in prison, he’s asking us to come to their aid.

After freeing his people from slavery, God renewed his covenant with them by making promises of hope and showing them how to live thankful lives. Since God had remembered the people in their need, he asked them to especially remember people around them who were poor and needy.

Throughout the Old Testament we find the call to remember, or to come to the aid of widows, orphans, people who were hungry, people who were homeless, and people who were in chains or in prison.

And in the New Testament, Jesus delivered those who were in chains. Even on the cross, with his final breaths he gave eternal hope to a death-row criminal who asked, “Lord, remember me!” Jesus responded, “Today you will be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:43).

The Bible Society of South Africa provides Bibles free of charge to prisoners. You can read more about how this project brings comfort and hope to those who have been deprived of their freedom here.

Prayer: Lord, today we remember the millions of people worldwide behind bars. We pray for them and ask that your church will come to their aid as only your church can do. Amen

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