Bible Reading: Luke 13:1-21
We need to recognize the symptoms of sin. There are certain places that we go, attitudes that we harbor, and people that we meet…that contribute to our participation in sin. When we see them…we need to respond immediately. Don’t allow yourself to be in a situation that you know can lead to sin.
Thoughts about God for My Grandkids:
Back in 1930, the city of Chicago, Illinois, had a terrible crime problem. The Chicago Crime Commission decided to produce a list of “public enemies” that included their pictures so that people in the communities could be on the lookout for them. If they saw them, they were to contact the Police Department. At the top of the list was a notorious criminal named Al Capone. The list hit the news and became very popular.
Some years later (1949), the popularity of this list got the attention of Bureau of Investigation and FBI director J. Edgar Hoover. A newspaperman asked Hoover if the FBI had a list of the “ten toughest guys” that it wanted to capture. Hoover said that it did and on March 14, 1950, the FBI issued its first official “Ten Most Wanted Fugitives” list.
The number one name on that first list was Thomas James Holden. He was a bank robber whose rap sheet included charges of robbing a mail train, escaping prison and murdering his wife. Holden was captured in less than one year, after being recognized by an acquaintance in Oregon who had seen the top-ten list in a local newspaper. But the FBI doesn’t always catch the bad guys. For example, they are still hunting for Victor Manuel Garena, a bank robber who has been on the list for more than 30 years. Other fugitives haven’t been so lucky. In 1969, Billie Austin Bryant was on the list for one of the shortest periods of time. He was on the top ten list for only two hours before he was seen by a citizen in a Washington, D.C. attic and arrested.
Three factors are considered for a person to be put on the Ten Most Wanted list:
- the criminal must have a lengthy record and there are current pending charges
- it is believed that the person will commit another violent crime if not caught
- national publicity could help find the person.
Generally, the only way to get off the list is to die or to be captured.
Since it was begun, until 2018, 517 fugitives have been on the “Ten Most Wanted Fugitives” list, and 484 have been apprehended or located. Here are some more interesting facts:
- 162 fugitives have been captured, or located as a result of citizen cooperation.
- 2 fugitives were apprehended as a result of visitors on an FBI tour.
- The shortest amount of time spent on the “Ten Most Wanted Fugitives” list was 2 hours, by Billy Austin Bryant in 1969.
- The longest amount of time spent on the “Ten Most Wanted Fugitives” list was over 32 years by Victor Manuel Gerena.
- 9 fugitives were arrested prior to publication and release, but are still considered as officially on the list.
- The oldest person to be placed on the list is 77-year-old William Bradford Bishop, Jr., who was added in April of 2014.
- The first person placed on the list was Thomas J. Holden, wanted for murder.
- At a minimum, a reward of up to $100,000 is offered by the FBI for information that leads directly to the arrest of a “Ten Most Wanted Fugitive”. In some instances, the reward amount offered is more than $100,000.
The criminals who are placed on the Ten Most Wanted fugitives list are the most dangerous and notorious of all. 54 percent of those who have been named to the list have been murderers, the rest have been bank robbers, organized crime members, cartel bosses and terrorists.
In the days of Jesus, there were also notorious criminals. They were hunted down by the government and tried for their crimes. People were quick to point to what they had done and say that they deserved what they got. They were sinners.
One time, a group of men from Galilee, were killed by Pilate for their crimes. The people saw this as God’s judgment on them. Another time, a tower in Siloam (located in Jerusalem) fell on 18 men and killed them. Again, the people saw this as God’s judgment on them. But Jesus said that the Galileans who were killed were no more guilty of sin…than the rest of the people who lived in Galilee. And, the men in Siloam were no more guilty of sin…than the rest of the people in Jerusalem. Understand this. He didn’t say that those men were not guilty. And, He didn’t say that they didn’t deserve punishment. But, He was saying that everyone is guilty of sin.
Isn’t it amazing how quickly and how easily we can point out someone else’s sin? And yet, when it comes to ourself…we seldom want to admit that we have sinned.
Why would Jesus want us to be aware of our sin? Does He enjoy making us feel guilty? No, no, no. Jesus hates sin and He hates what it does to us because He loves us, so much. So, He convicts us of the sin that we have committed so that we will confess it and repent. To confess means that we agree with Him that it is sin. To repent means that we don’t do it any more.
Maybe we need to have a Top 10 Most Wanted List in our life. Those would be the 10 areas where we find ourselves to be the most susceptible to sin. Let’s see, what would be on that list? Maybe…
- _______________ (you can write one in here).
Keep an eye out for these criminals. You know what they look like. You know when and where they show up. Be on your guard. Don’t give them a chance to cause problems in your life. The instant that you spot them…tell the Lord…pray. Then, focus your faith on the Bible. It will be helpful if you have memorized some passages of Scripture and can begin to quote them, at that very moment. God will give you the wisdom and the power to stand strong and not sin. That is when your FBI (Faith Begins Instantly) will show up. Then, thank Him for what He has done.
Love you more than bunches and bunches,