Bible Stories- From Godfather to God the Father
Mob– (noun) a large crowd of people, especially one that is disorderly and intent on causing trouble or violence; (verb) crowd around (someone) in an unruly and excitable way in order to admire or attack them.
Mob bosses are commonly portrayed in movies/comics. The kingpin in the Batman, The Godfather trilogy, Gangs of New York, etc. We would like to think that this kind of stuff stays in the land of fantasy, but for some, it’s a dark reality. Mob bosses are those who orchestrate or influence people to do their dirty work. Today we are going to talk about an unexpected mob boss of the Bible and another that is still alive today.
The mob boss of the Bible is unlike the ones that you see in movies. He didn’t break the law or live an immoral life; rather he followed the law exactly. His life was great- he was a high ranking authority in the city, people knew and respected him, and he had influence. There was a group of people, however, that he did not have influence over and they were causing a lot of problems in the community. They were spreading horrible lies about this man that recently died and changing the way life was. He knew that he had to put an end to it, so he used his influence to put an end to them. He stood watch as others attacked and killed those who were causing so much trouble. They would hand over their coats to watch over while they did it- Saul the Pharisee. He didn’t just stop there, he would drag those who would dare to challenge the beliefs of who God was out into the streets and throw them into prison (Acts 7:54 -8:3, 9:1-2).
A mob boss of another kind still lives today. Michael “Yuppie Don” Franzese was a New York mob boss of the Colombo crime family. At his peak, he made an estimated $5-$8 million per week from legal and illegal businesses. He made more money for a crime family since Al Capone. They were known as the most violent and feared mob in New York. Rudy Guiliani went after him for racketeering charges but came up short in putting him behind bars. Crime paid well, and it seemed like he was invincible.
But one day, for both of these men, they had an encounter with a person that completely changed their life. For Saul of Tarsus, he met Jesus Christ, the very person he was persecuting by killing his followers and throwing them in prison. His eyes were opened and he realized the truth of what he had been doing and that his whole life and belief system was incomplete. Jesus was the completion of everything and it changed everything. Instead of persecuting the church, he began a ministry to spread it and spent the rest of his life being persecuted- imprisoned, beaten, shipwrecked, and final, beheaded under Emperor Nero. Ironic, isn’t it?
As for Michael, he met a beautiful dancer whose faith rocked his world. He saw something in her that he had never experienced before- something pure and holy that can only be found in those who are in Christ. He fell hard for her and later they were married. He wanted whatever she had, so he gave his life to Christ and turned himself in for racketeering. While in prison, he left the mob (and a rare one to survive in doing so) and began a career in ministry inspiring others to beat the odds and make positive changes in their life.
Jesus accepts all of those who come to me- no matter what you have done. Murderers, liars, cheaters, thieves, gossips, etc. He will take who you were and change you who you need to be- if you truly give your life over to him. Both Paul and Michael did some horrible deeds before they met Christ, but look what Christ did to their life after they met! Paul went on to write the majority of the New Testament and be a force for the Gospel- even until today! Michael and his wife have an incredible testimony to share about how God still changes lives radically in our world today. Think about ways that God has changed your life and how he wants to use you for His kingdom.
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