Bible Reading: Romans 13:1-5

Obey the government, for God is the one who put it there.   Romans 13:1

You’re riding your scooter down the sidewalk when you bunny-hop the curb and bolt across a busy street in the middle of the block. Faster than you can say the word “jaywalk,” a motorcycle cop roars up next to you, lights a-flashing. You freeze.

As the officer approaches, your eyes suddenly bug out. The cop wears the usual leather jacket, helmet, and gun belt. But his bearded, kind face and sandals look familiar. Then it hits you. He looks just like the picture of Jesus in your Bible!

He speaks, and he sounds just like you think Jesus would sound. “Believe it or not,” he says, “people get hit right here all the time trying to cross the street outside of the crosswalk. I don’t want that to happen to you. That’s why there’s a law against jaywalking—kids on scooters included.” Then he jots out a ticket and hands it to you.

When you spot the initials “J. C.” at the bottom of the ticket, your jaw drops. The officer winks at you, like he knows just what you’re thinking. Then he says, “Have a safe day,” hops on his cycle, and roars away. Could it be that you were just busted by Jesus?

Now, Jesus doesn’t have a badge from your hometown police department, but he’s definitely pleased with what police officers do. In fact, the Bible says that God has put a number of “authorities” in our life—people who in some way set the rules we must live by.

Talk about it: What authorities do you answer to? Why do you suppose God put them there?

We might be surprised by what God thinks when we ignore these people he meant to do us good: “Those who refuse to obey the laws of the land are refusing to obey God, and punishment will follow” (Romans 13:2). Sounds a little like Christ in a police officer’s uniform, doesn’t it?

Whenever we spot someone who has the job of keeping us inside lawful boundaries, we’re looking at God’s representative. Police and teachers and parents might not know it, but they truly are God’s instruments to protect us and defend us.

We’ll probably never get busted by a police officer who looks like Jesus, but we can still spot God caring for us through police, government, and laws. When we obey the authorities he has put in our life, we aren’t just being good citizens. We’re honoring God.

TALK: When you obey the authorities in your life, you are obeying God. How does that fact help you do what is right?

PRAY: God, help us to respect and obey the people who have authority over our life.

ACT: Pay special attention to how you react to authorities in your life today!

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