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Go Ahead and Shoot

Have you heard the folk story of the bandit Jose’ Rivera, who became notorious in several little towns in Texas for robbing their banks and businesses? Finally the townsfolk, weary of the constant plundering, hired a ranger to track down Jose’ Rivera in his hideout in Mexico and retrieve the money. The ranger at last arrived at a desolate, ramshackle cantina. At the counter he saw a young man enjoying his brew. At one of the tables, hands over his ample stomach, hat over his eyes, snored another patron. With much gusto, the ranger approached the young man at the bar and announced that he was on a mission to bring back Jose’ Rivera, dead or alive. “Can you help me find him?” he asked. The young man smiled, pointed to the other patron, and said, “That is Jose’ Rivera.”

The ranger shifted his southern girth and ambled over to the sleeping bandit, tapping him on the shoulder, “Are you Jose’ Rivera? he asked. The man mumbled, “No speak English.” The ranger beckoned to the young man to help him communicate his mission.

The ensuing conversation was tedious. First the ranger spoke in English and the young man translated it into Spanish. Jose’ Rivera responded in Spanish, and young man repeated the answer in English for the ranger.

finally, the ranger warned Jose’ Rivera that he had two choices; the first was to let him know where all the loot he had stolen was hidden, in which case he could walk away a free man. The second choice was that if he would not reveal where the money was stashed, he would be shot dead instantly. The young man translated the ultimatum.

Jose’ Rivera pulled himself together and said to the young man, “Tell him to go out of the bar, turn to the right, go about a mile, and he will see a well. Near the well he will see a very tall tree. Beside the trunk of that tree is a large concrete slab. He will need help in removing it. Under the slab is a pit in the ground. If he carefully uncovers it he will find all the jewelry and most of the money I have taken.”

The young man turned to the ranger, opened his mouth...swallowed...paused—and then said, “Jose’ Rivera says...Jose’ Rivera says... ‘Go ahead and shoot!’”

Ravi Zacharias, Can Man Live Without God, (Word Publ., Dallas: 1994), pp. 98-99