“The defendant doesn’t stand a chance,” I thought. He sat nervously in the courtroom, on trial for drug possession and distribution. I was there for jury duty – that civic practice no one likes, but everyone is thankful for.
I’d never met the defendant. I didn’t know any details of the case. We were still early in the jury selection process, and if chosen, I’d do everything in my power to view him “innocent until proven guilty,” ignoring first impressions and letting facts speak for themselves.
Still, I had my doubts. You see, the defendant had declined a court-appointed attorney. Instead, he opted to represent himself. His suit was two sizes too large. His questions to potential jurors were awkward and choppy. I felt almost embarrassed for him. Meanwhile, the prosecutor was confident and sharply dressed – a District Attorney well versed in legalese and courtroom etiquette.
Sitting in court that day, I was reminded of another trial coming. The Bible says, “God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil” (Ecclesiastes 12:14). This time, heaven will be the courtroom. God will sit on the bench as Judge and jury. We will be the defendants. God promises to weigh not only our visible behavior and religious expressions, but every secret thought and deed.
Let’s be honest. We don’t stand a chance defending ourselves against an all-knowing, all-seeing, perfectly righteous God. We will each stand guilty before him. There will be nowhere to run, nowhere to hide, and no excuses or alibis to withstand his scrutiny.
Thankfully, there is a skilled defense attorney standing by who can take our punishment and make us innocent. 1 John 2:1-2 tells us, “If anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.”
That word “advocate” speaks of a defense attorney. Jesus is willing to speak on your behalf, and intercede to God for you! Have you ever admitted you are guilty and need a defense attorney? Or are you seriously planning to represent yourself on judgment day? (Which would be a dismal failure.) Jesus alone “is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them” (Hebrews 7:25).
As it turned out, I wasn’t selected for jury that day, and I never heard the results of the drug dealing case. I pray that whatever the outcome, justice was done. But I’m also thankful to have an advocate named Jesus Christ who will represent me in the heavenly courtroom. He’s the best lawyer in the business and has never lost a case. If you haven’t yet sought him out, I encourage you to do so today. You never know when the trial will begin.
(This article first appeared in today’s edition of our local newspaper, the Hi Desert Star.)
Photo credit: Hope Media Stock Photography