"Uniting Christian & Jewish Clergy from Around the World"
Robert requested a devotional book. I sent him a pocket New Testament. In frustration he made a second request, “Don’t send me that stuff. Just send me a devotion book.” In response I sent him a Bible. I heard nothing back …
Tony was on death row awaiting execution. Tony had been back and forth several times to the death chamber. Each of the previous times the execution had been stayed. In his last appeal Tony stood before the audience in a suit and presented his case. This time it was different. According to the law he was found guilty and sentenced. While in prison, he became a Christian. His behavior and interaction with others was strong testimony that he had become a “changed” man. His appeal failed and the sentence was to be carried out. The trip to the chamber would be one way.
Tony walked to with his head up to his temporary holding cell. He had a peace because of his personal relationship with God and was comforted by His Word. We brought him a hymnbook from the Chapel and he sang songs in the night.
Two weeks after the execution I received a letter from Robert.
“You sent me a Bible and it made me furious, but something happened that you need to share. I knew Tony from another prison. He was an okay guy in spite of the fact that he was a Christian. We all knew he was in the cell below us awaiting execution. At night Tony would stand on his commode to preach through the vent in the ceiling. Everyone would hear his preaching and singing even up to the two hours before his execution.
The morning of the execution I was awake and looking out my cell window at the heavy fog. I saw a truck come in to the fenced courtyard behind the prison to pick up Tony for burial. As the truck stopped to open the gate the fog and clouds departed and sun shown down on the truck… At that time I realized that Tony was a child of God. I wrestled with my own condition then asked Jesus to come into my life and save me.
Chaplain, if there is any way, I would like to buy Bibles for every inmate in the prison. You were right. That is the devotion book everyone needs.”
The same morning I read the letter I received a phone call from a pastor. He was the pastor of the church Robert’s wife and mother attended. He called and related that he just read a similar letter to the church family. The church had been praying for Robert many years. His family and church knew him only as a bitter atheist who hated the Bible and anyone connected with it. That morning they were all shedding tears of joy.
Robert had a photographic memory. He could memorize everything he read. He was doing a dozen Bible studies at the same time. He would be a witness was as strong as Tony.
There was an execution: The execution itself was a witness; There was the physical execution of Tony; There was execution of the Holy Spirit: and there was execution of a new witness, Robert.
One inmate asked a question, “How many would be preaching to others before an execution?