Connecting People to Jesus



“Imprisoned by Grace”


Prayer:  Lord Jesus, You are our Lord, our Creator, and our King.  We live only to serve You.  Bless us in Your Word of truth.  Amen.



Scripture: Ephesians 4:1-6

I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. 


Devotional – “Imprisoned by Grace”

Jesus promised freedom to those who believe in Him.  He said very specifically in John 8, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free…if the Son sets you free, you are free indeed.”  With this is mind, it admittedly comes across a little odd that the Apostle Paul refers to himself here in Ephesians 4 as a “prisoner for the Lord,” especially when Paul said in his earlier letter to the Galatian church, “For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.”

This seeming double-talk by St. Paul begins to resolve itself when we understand what the Son, Jesus, has set us free from and what specifically is the “yoke” that Paul urges us not to submit to “again.”  It is from the yoke and bondage of sin that Christ has set us free from.  Our own sin and wickedness that deserves God’s punishment and eternal imprisonment in hell is the “yoke” Jesus speaks of when He says in Matthew 11, “28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

We are not our own.  It was the Devil’s temptation to be our own and our attempt to make ourselves our own that left humanity imprisoned by it’s own sinful nature.  As a result, we will either be a prisoner to our own sinful selves and perish under the penalty of sin which God said is death, or we will be set free to live, free to serve, set free even to be a prisoner to and a prisoner for the Lord of life.  Only once God brings us to the point of repentance and realizing the truth of our need to be set free from our captivity to sin, having that sinner within us drowned in the life giving waters of baptism, can we be reborn as slaves to righteousness who have received and enjoy the transformative grace and fulfilled life that is living as a prisoner of the Lord.

The true story of a WWII Japanese fighter pilot named Mitsuo Fuchida is a beautiful illustration of the freedom that comes with living as a prisoner of the Lord.  Mr. Fuchida tells his story in the autobiographical book he wrote entitled “From Pearl Harbor to Calvary.”

Mitsuo Fuchida was the infamous Japanese fighter pilot who led the attack on Pearl Harbor which resulted in the death of over two thousand Americans.

In the summer of 1942, Fuchida was recovering from an illness in his ship’s sickbay when a blast knocked a hole through the side of the ship, killing everyone still in their hospital beds except him.  Two years later in 1945, Fuchida found himself in the city of Hiroshima on military business. Mere hours after he left the city to return to another military base, the US forces dropped an atomic bomb which decimated the city and brought a rapid end to the war. Once again, Fuchida narrowly escaped death.

“Why was my life spared a second time?” he wondered. As Fuchida says in his book, “When the war ended several days later, my country was defeated and I was devastated. Bitterness and hatred filled my heart.”

Then one day Fuchida was walking through a busy train station when he was approached by a man who handed him a pamphlet called “I Was a Prisoner of Japan.” Fascinated, he began reading the story of Jake DeShazer, captured and tortured by the Japanese. DeShazer had come to faith in his prison camp and had returned to Japan to share the love and forgiveness of Jesus Christ with his former enemies.

A few days later, in that same station, Fuchida met a man handing out free Bibles. “On that day in 1950,” he said, “I became a new person.” Fuchida went on to discover the mission for which God had spared him–he became an international evangelist, leading thousands to faith in Christ. Though deeply gratified by the fruit God had allowed him to reap, he still felt something was missing. He longed for forgiveness–not from God from whom He’d already received it–but from Jake DeShazer, his former sworn enemy whose story had led him to peace with God.

Fuchida recounts how when he arrived at the home of Jake DeShazer, he could not stop his hand from trembling as he reached up to knock on the door.  The door opened shortly after.  As Fuchida describes, a “kind-looking man” stood there and said, “Yes?”  “I have desired to meet you, Mr. DeShazer. My name is Mitsuo Fuchida.”

It took only a moment for DeShazer to recognize the name, and to Fuchida’s relief, a smile spread across his face.  “Through the love of Jesus,” Fuchida says, “we former enemies embraced as brothers in Christ’s love.”

One soldier was a prisoner behind bars in a Japanese prison camp.  The other was a prisoner of shame, bitterness, and guilt.  Both men were ultimately and truly set free only when Christ brought them to the end of themselves and they became prisoners of the risen Lord of love and life.

As the Apostle Paul says in Romans 6, “16 Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness?  19 For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness leading to sanctification.  20 For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. 21 But what fruit were you getting at that time from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. 22 But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Thanks for spending time with me today in devotion to our Lord, Jesus Christ, and remember, that God has forgiven yesterday, is with you today, and has already taken care of tomorrow.  Amen.