Lawman

TV Cowboys401aFrom John Russell to Burt Lancaster to Steven Seagal, the mystique of the Lawman is embedded in American popular culture. From sheriffs in the Wild West to snipers in the Middle East, we’re attracted to those who represent law, order, justice, and courage. When good triumphs over evil we see the hand of God. The same was true in Jesus day. Ancient Palestine was a relatively peaceful place. Law enforcement agencies included Rome and the Pharisees. Their respective jurisdictions were political and religious. However, one represented oppressive dominion from a godless occupier; the other claimed to represent God and his Law. Ironically Jesus always obeyed the Roman authorities, but made hash of the Pharisees legalism. Jesus was a model citizen but number one on the Pharisees most wanted. This brings up another staple in American culture: the rebel. It’s one thing to shed nostalgic generational preferences. Just because it’s old doesn’t make it good. In that way Jesus was a rebel. It’s a different case entirely when you rebel to be noticed, feared, or to garner publicity for yourself. That’s cool today in some circles, and even some pulpits. In this regard Jesus was not a rebel under any circumstances. The accent is never on his disobedience to human authority, but on his obedience to his heavenly Father. He was not the James Dean of Rabbis. He always obeyed the Law of God. He could follow God and ignore custom without ever tarnishing his character. He was the ultimate Lawman. Violators beware, even if you were the High Priest.

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