Monday, November 24, 2014

He Never Stops

Without doubt, many of my readers will immediately recognize the title, “The Fugitive.”  The hit movie, with Harrison Ford playing an innocent man fleeing the condemnation of a faulty trial, pursued by a federal marshal played by Tommy Lee Jones, is dramatic action adventure at its best.  Far fewer of you, though, will know the The Fugitive was originally a hit TV series in the 1960s.  I was just shy of twelve years old when the series premiered in 1963.

There was something about that television series that captured peoples’ imaginations.  While it didn’t have the boom-boom-pow of the 1993 film, it drew us into the desperation and the sadness of a physician who found his murdered wife, then had to undergo the humiliation of being wrongfully convicted of killing her.

Every week of that show, Dr. Richard Kimble was in a different town with a new name. Every week, his character revealed a broken man trying to make enough money to get by, even as he sought the real killer of his wife…even as he eluded the relentless Lt. Gerard.  Gerard was a man on a mission.  To him, a murderer had escaped and he was duty bound to find him. Episode by episode and season by season, the lawman grew increasingly doubtful of his quarry’s guilt, but he kept pursuing.

Watching those shows as a kid was both captivating and interminable.  Four years of anything at that age feels like an eternity.  Everything in me wanted to see an innocent man set free and a guilty man caged.  I remember that people speculated for weeks how the show would end.  The whole thing was done so well that TV Guide magazine, in 2002, ranked the series #36 in the Top 50 TV Shows of All Time.

Obviously, I’m here to write about more than a hit TV series.  It’s what captured my young thoughts that I am remembering today.  Something about relentless pursuit stirs me at a deep level.  You see, the Bible…the whole narrative…is about God’s relentless pursuit of human beings.  Dr. Richard Kimble may have been innocent as he fled the persistent officer who was duty bound to capture him, but we have no such claim before a holy God.  We need to be caught by Him. Why?  Because He pursues us, not to punish us, but to cleanse us from our guilt and shame. The Fugitive may have been free from prison, but he wasn’t free, as long as he was running from the Law.  You and I aren’t free as we run from God, either.

And, “It was for freedom that Christ set us free.” (Galatians 5:1 New American Standard Bible) Here we have been, living our lives on the run from the one who was willing to sacrifice His only son so that we could be exonerated.

We run.  He relentlessly pursues us.  All because of love!

If the entire Scripture narrative is about God’s pursuit of us, the Christmas story stands as one of the climactic events.  Think of it: God so wanted to reach us and set us free…He so wanted to give us back the relationship that was lost so long ago in a Garden…that He Himself came as a human baby.  Talk about Relentless!  My heart starts to race as I think about this Relentless God.  We are going to talk about His Relentless love all through this Christmas season and it starts this weekend.  Hope you can be there!  If not, catch the podcast!

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