I don’t know about you, but I love “Mob Movies.” From the “Godfather” trilogy, to “A Bronx Tale,” to “Goodfellas,” this genre of movies tell tales of loyalty and honor — albeit in a criminal enterprise.
At the center of these films is something called “Cosa Nostra” — in Italian, “Our Thing” — an underground society that began, ostensibly, to protect its members from corrupt government. In order to be part of “La Cosa Nostra,” you had to participate in a blood-oath ceremony which codified “omertà,” a code of honor among between its colleagues (comparés) and superiors (padrinos). When you completed the ceremony, you became part of a “family” or a “crew” and what is known as a “Made Man,” at which time, you became — essentially — untouchable.
Well there is no good news in criminal enterprise but, guess what, there is too-good-to-be-true-news in that — in Christ — you are a “Made Man!”
John 8:31-38 (AMPC) 31 So Jesus said to those Jews who had believed in Him, If you abide in My word [hold fast to My teachings and live in accordance with them], you are truly My disciples. 32 And you will know the Truth, and the Truth will set [make] you free. 33 They answered Him, We are Abraham’s offspring (descendants) and have never been in bondage to anybody. What do You mean by saying, You will be set [made] free? 34 Jesus answered them, I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, Whoever commits and practices sin is the slave of sin. 35 Now a slave does not remain in a household permanently (forever); the son [of the house] does remain forever. 36 So if the Son liberates you [makes you free men], then you are really and unquestionably free. 37 [Yes] I know that you are Abraham’s offspring; yet you plan to kill Me, because My word has no entrance (makes no progress, does not find any place) in you. 38 I tell the things which I have seen and learned at My Father’s side, and your actions also reflect what you have heard and learned from your father.
In the Mafia, you cannot become part of a family or crew without shedding of blood. The shedding of blood constitutes what should be an unbreakable oath. Unfortunately, the shedding of mere human blood for a mere human oath means both the blood and the oath are imperfect and subject to the imperfections of man. In Christ, though, a Perfect God-Man shed His Perfect Blood with a Perfect God-Father to make a Perfect Oath. In other words, imperfect man was taken out of the equation.
In the Mafia, sometimes you have to kill to make a point. In fact, if you look at the history of the Mafia and how it is portrayed in cinema, murder is a way of life. In Christ, Jesus gave up His life so that we would not have to taste death! Jesus died on the cross so that we only have to die in the New Birth!
The Mafia was created because justice could not be obtained through corrupt governments. Jesus came and rendered corrupt religions and governments powerless and overcame injustice with His unconditional Love, His unlimited Grace, His unfailing Faith, and His unshakable Hope! Religion and governments traded money for justice but God sacrificed Himself so that justice would prevail for all.
When you become a made man, you become part of a family or a crew. In Christ, you become part of the family of God. You trade your sin for His righteousness and your base humanity for His divine humanity.
In the Mafia, you become franchised to strong-arm anyone who opposes you. In Christ, you are upheld by the right hand of His righteousness! In Christ, you are submitted to God and can resist your opposition — in rest, not struggle — and fully expect him to flee from you.
As a “Made Man,” you are virtually untouchable. If you are hurt, harmed, or killed, there are serious repercussions to those who would do these things. In Christ, even if a weapon is formed against you, it will not prosper.
In the Mafia, you can request vengeance when you are abused. In Christ, you can obtain the ultimate vengeance in forgiveness and the ultimate wrath in love. Jesus said we should bless them that curse us and pray for theme who despitefully use us. And when He hung on the cross, He said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” Jesus deals with His enemies in vengeful forgiveness and wrathful, furious love!
In the Mafia, you can rely on the strength of Cosa Nostra and the integrity of Omertà. In Christ, you can rely on the strength of the creator of all things and the integrity of His Word — both Written and Living! The Mafia likes to pattern itself after the Roman Legion but you can pattern yourself after the Roman Centurion, who spoke a word in faith to see his servant healed, and use your God-given Faith to move your mountains.
The thing that separates Cosa Nostra from mere fraternities is the shedding of blood. The thing that separates life in Christ from everything else is the shedding of His Blood. His Blood not only seals the oath perfectly but also cleanses the beneficiaries of the oath. And the oath does not require the participation of the beneficiaries, lest they corrupt the oath.
You are either part of the greatest “crew” or “family” ever. You are greater than the “Five Families,” the “Chicago Family,” or any of the “West Coast Families.” You are greater and stronger than any “Don” or “Capo!”
In Christ — and I’m borrowing from Steve Miller — you are the Gangster of Love!
© 2018 – Derrick Day (www.derrickday.com)