Joseph should have seen it coming. In fact, his surprise at the heavy penalty levied by the Judge only served to anger the Judge.
As he sat behind bars beginning his long sentence, he pondered the situation. He had lost his license, lost his freedom, lost his insurance, and because he couldn’t work, might even lose his house. All because he was doing 52 in a 35 mph zone. It seemed a bit steep, as traffic violations go. He was only 17 over! No big deal!
The problem, the Prosecutor had reminded the Judge, was that this was Joseph’s umpteenth time in front of the court for the same basic offenses. As the Prosecutor had shuffled through a pile of paper, he had recounted more than eleven court appearances just in the last year, with a couple dozen in the previous five years. He reminded the Judge that fines, safe driving classes and a lost license, were of no avail. Joseph was a recalcitrant, habitual speeder that endangered the roads and all who used them.
Maybe he was right. Somehow Joseph couldn’t help himself. When he got behind the wheel he just wanted to GO! FAST! And, now the Judge had made good on his threats for a hefty punishment.
Footsteps echoed in the hall outside of his cell, then, surprisingly, keys jangled in his cell door. The uniformed officer swung it wide and said, “You are free to go.”
Surprised, Joseph exclaimed, “Excuse me?”
“You’re free to go,” the officer repeated.
Joseph sprang from his seat and moved quickly for the door. Questions played in his mind as they walked through several locked doors and out into the stark lobby.
A young man was standing there and introduced himself as Joshua, the governor’s son. He had heard of Joseph’s plight, his penchant for speeding and the harsh, but deserved sentence that had been handed down. Now, he wanted to help.
Joseph needed help. No doubt about that! “What’s the plan? I’ll do anything.”
They headed out the door. As Joshua led the way to a car in the lot, he said, “I’ve spoken with the Judge and it is all settled. The penalties against you have been taken care of. You have a clean slate.”
“How did you do that? I mean, I know you are the governor’s son, but,” his voice trailed off.
“It’s not really important right now,” Joshua explained, “What we need to do is go for a drive.”
As they rode and talked, Joseph noticed that they weren’t going any particular place. They were just driving. What was interesting was that Joshua was particular, in a very casual way, to observe the speed limit. In fact, not just the speed limit, but all other associated driving rules.
Curious, Joseph asked, “You’re the governor’s son. Why don’t you go as fast as you want? You could even change the speed limit, or toss it out all together!! It’s not like they are going to give you a ticket, right?”
“Actually, I’m subject to the rules, just like you,” he smiled. “Indeed, the governor is as well.”
Joseph pondered and watched.
“Thank you for talking to the Judge and taking care of the penalties.”
“You are welcome,” Joshua demurred, then continued a little more earnestly, “but, you need to understand why I am showing the correct way to drive. I cancelled the penalty, not the law. When you get home, you will again have your car, your keys and freedom, but that freedom is not to drive whatever speed you want. It is to operate within the parameters of state law. I’m showing you how, so you can follow my example.”
Joseph was beginning to have a new understanding.
When we were under condemnation/judgment for our sins, transgression of the Law, Yeshua paid the penalty. He showed us how to rightly walk in obedience to the Law. His payment of the penalty did not abolish the Law, it abolished the penalty!
The Law still stands and as His disciples, we have the Holy Spirit, the Ruach haKodesh, to lead and help us walk in obedience. We may fail, but we have no right to willfully disregard His instructions!
In the simplest terms, when we pay a speeding ticket, does our payment abolish the ticket, or abolish the Law?
Yeshua’s work on the cross is the same way. He did not abolish the Law, just the penalty against us!
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