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Truth Be Told #1 – Jesus Christ Lawman

“I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.” – Matthew 5:18

There was a show on A&E TV called Steven Segal Lawman. It followed the now D-list actor Steven Segal while working as a sheriff in the New Orleans area. It was a mish mash of random junkies recognizing Steven and asking for his autograph while being tazed, but it was also mixed with sporadic bits of wisdom from the slurred speech of a wanna-be sheriff.

However, Steven would always say that he respected the badge he wore and wanted to bring justice to the streets of New Orleans. To shrink wrap it, Segal was saying he liked the law and wanted people to follow the laws which were created to protect us.

Written, spoken, cultural, or otherwise we all love laws until we break one.
• Speed limits are great until we get a ticket for “only going 5 over”.
• Construction zones should be kept safe until it keeps you from getting to the Bulls game on time.
• Lines seem like a perfect organization method until we get stuck in a long one so then of course we cut in.

One of the myths about Jesus was that He was a renegade rule breaker. Some people have morphed Him into a teenage skate boarder running from the cops because He tried to rail grind at the mall. When in reality Jesus was much more a lawman than we care to give him credit.
The Pharisees freaked out about Jesus for many reasons, but one of the biggest ulcers He gave them was that they felt He was disrespecting the Old Testament Law given by God to Moses. These laws had been in existence for hundreds of years at this point and greatly defined the Jewish faith.

They were broken up into three general categories: ceremonial, civil, and moral. If you are in need of some “light” reading feel free to thumb through Leviticus to get an idea of the complexity and magnitude of these laws. The Religious leaders of the day made it their religion to follow these rules to the letter. We even learn later that they were so legalistic about following them that they tithed their spices to make sure they were in accordance. However, the sad truth was that the law that they were following so closely was primarily designed to point to the one they hated…Jesus.

“I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.” – Matthew 5:18
Jesus did not come to destroy the law or disobey the law; rather He was the fulfillment of the Old Testament Law.
• In Jesus the laws of ceremonial atonement for sin were fulfilled through His death, burial, and resurrection. All that remained was for us to worship and love Him as God.
• In Jesus the laws of civility were fulfilled as He demonstrated how to live these out in perfect practice. Although Old Testament culture may be difficult to relate to today, the principles are timeless.
• In Jesus the laws of morality were fulfilled and demonstrated by Christ for our pursuit. Although we will stumble and fall we look to the One who was perfect as our guide.

Sadly, the men that studied the law the closest were missing out on the reason the laws were written and missed out on the joy of their fulfillment.
Equally as sad is that even today we are missing out on that joy in Jesus. Without Jesus, we also look to the law as either a deterrent or a comfort to our faith.

It deters some by its magnitude and impossibility causing us to lose heart and lose faith. Many turn away because of this impossible wall that we can never climb and are sometimes reminded of by the “religious” in our world.
The law gives some comfort thinking that if they get enough of the right pieces in place they will somehow please God by their works and neatly kept spice racks. These people look down upon those that can’t keep up with their faith or don’t have the discipline to submit themselves to all that is expected.

The good news is that for those of us that have found our identity in Christ we are free from both of these views. We understand that we can never follow all the laws to make us right with God, and we also agree that we don’t have the strength to climb the insurmountable wall it creates, but we know One that can and did conquer it for us.

The Truth is that Jesus came to stop our endless pursuit of the Law and begin our endless pursuit of Him.

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