I was sitting at a red light this morning, my mind more focused on the “Chicken Mini’s” that would soon be doing the backstroke in my belly than on anything else. To my left was a left turn lane and in that lane was a police cruiser; a Dodge Charger kind no-less. Slick and sweet looking. I had to stare.
So there I was in my manivan, next to Officer Hotshot in his Dodge Charger; both of us staring at red lights–his to go left, mine to go straight. When out of nowhere, he turns on his police lights and pulls out of his left-turn lane and in front of me, driving across the intersection. And yep, the light’s still red.
As soon as he cleared the intersection, he turned his police lights off and went on his merry way. I thought to myself, “Hmph. If I didn’t know better, I’d say that Officer Hotshot used his lights to drive through a red light. No emergency. No “hot pursuit”. No real need to do so. Just didn’t feel like waiting I guess. Oh well, when you’re a cop I suppose you’re allowed to do things like that.” As soon as I thought those thoughts, my mind went back to my Chicken Mini’s.
Now, I don’t know what the legality is of what my friend in the Charger did. I don’t know if its an “unspoken” kind of thing that cops just do, even though I can’t imagine its a sanctioned activity. Basically, he was using the vehicle he was in to live “above the law”. Let’s pretend that instead of him turning his police lights on and driving through the intersection, it was me turning my hazard lights on and driving through the intersection. Would he have sat there and thought, “Well, I guess that just what guys in minivans are allowed to do”? Doubtful.
The religious leaders in Jesus’ day thought HE lived above the law, too. They viewed him as a young punk who hadn’t “paid his dues” yet, but seemed instead to use His position as so-called “Messiah” as some license to do crazy things that broke their law. Things like healing on the Sabbath, dining with sinners, and talking to loose women.
But Jesus had a response to their accusations that He came to destroy the law or to make a mockery of it. Take a look at what Jesus said in Matthew 5:17:
“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.”
You see, to those in religious power, Jesus was a scofflaw, a rebel on the loose, someone bent on destroying all they held dear and all they held over people’s heads. But in reality, Jesus didn’t come to overturn the tables. He Himself was the last piece of the puzzle. And with His life, death and resurrection in place, the perfect picture of God’s atonement of mankind was complete! The old covenant was fulfilled, not destroyed. God’s promise spoken in Genesis 4 was being kept, not replaced! Jesus wasn’t living above the Law, Jesus was concluding the Law! And with that conclusion, Law is now grace, sacrifices are done, redemption is complete, judgment has fallen, condemnation is no more, and God’s wrath is satisfied.
Its been said that “Freedom isn’t having the ability to do what you want, but the power to do what you should.” True freedom, the kind that comes from Christ alone because of all He has done on our behalf is ours for the taking! “Whosoever will” may live above the law in the grace and mercy of the risen Jesus.