American Pastor Saeed Abedini is serving an eight-year prison sentence for proselytizing his Christian faith in the Islamic Republic of Iran, but that plight didn't stop him from penning a powerful Easter message from his hospital bed Sunday.
The American Center for Law and Justice, who is representing Mr. Abedini, posted a copy of the pastor's message on its website.
"Some times we want to experience the Glory and resurrection with Jesus without experiencing death with Him," the 33-year-old pastor writes. "We do not realize that unless we pass through the path of death with Christ, we are not able to experience resurrection with Christ."
Citing Matthew 16:24, Mr. Abedini says, "This means that we should not do things that we like to do (that God does not want us to do) and to do things that we do not like to do (but God wants us to do) so that He may be glorified."
"A Glorious life with Christ starts only after a painful death (to self) with Christ. We will start with Christ," he writes.
The letter is signed, "Pastor Saeed Abedini — Prisoner in the Darkness in Iran, but free for the Kingdom and Light."
The ACLJ is urging the international community to push for Mr. Abedini's clemency.
President Obama vowed during his February National Prayer Breakfast that he will do everything possible to secure the pastor's release.
"We pray for Pastor Saeed Abedini," the president said. "He's been held in Iran for more than 18 months — sentenced to eight years in prison on charges relating to his Christian beliefs. And as we continue to work for his freedom today, again, we call on the Iranian government to release Pastor Abedini so he can return to the loving arms of his wife and children in Idaho."
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