Chaplaincy: Lessons from Lazarus (John 11:38-44)

March 20, 2024 | 2 minute read
The Alliance Canada

A prison door with the words “Still Free“ written on them.

“Take away the stone”

When Jesus asked the bystanders, family members, and community to roll away the stone, what was asked seemed wrong, shocking and offensive. As a prison chaplain, I have the responsibility to create a safe space for individuals to share their story, confess the weight of their sin, and hear the words of Christ. One of the biggest barriers to redemption is the unwillingness of some to roll away the heavy stones of judgment, condemnation, guilt, and shame. But when God rolls away these cold stones, it can open the darkest soul to the redemptive work of Christ and His resurrection life.

“Lazarus, come out!”

Redemption is not a human work, it is God’s work, afforded through the hearing of the Gospel and the ministry of the Spirit. Prison chaplaincy provides a unique opportunity to speak God’s word daily with the same individuals and continually pray that they would hear Christ calling them by name. I firmly believe God’s word will not return void but will accomplish the purpose it was sent for. It’s amazing to see how God’s Word, through the ministry of the Spirit, brings light and new birth and expels the darkness of sin and death.

“Take off the grave clothes and set him free”

I believe we have a shared calling (family, community, people of faith) to help remove the grave clothes of the past and promote freedom from sin. The work of redemption is God’s work, but God also commands us to share in His work of sanctification. Chaplaincy, in many ways, deals with the ugliness of sin, a work that is difficult and impossible without God. But the opportunity to see even one life transformed by the power of the Gospel—and to share in this work of God—is a privilege and pearl of great price.

Written by Darren Donas
Prison Chaplain, AAC
Kamloops Alliance Church
Kamloops, BC



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