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A Message for Convicts.

For the Pulpit June 12th, 1999 —The
Sharon Herald, page A-6

1999 Jefferis Peterson

"When all goes well with you, remember me and show
me kindness; mention me to Pharaoh and get me out of this prison. For I was
forcibly carried off from the land of the Hebrews, and even here I have done
nothing to deserve being put in a dungeon." Genesis 40:14,15,
NIV.

Convicted criminals have a hard time admitting
guilt. "I'm innocent," is a common plea from those behind bars. Such words
don't create much sympathy from guards, bailiffs, or the public at large. You
may think you are innocent, but if a jury has convicted you and a judge has
passed sentence, you have been found guilty.

There are a few genuinely innocent people behind
bars, like Joseph in Pharaoh's prison. They are notable for their exceptions.
But there are a lot more guilty people who ought to be in prison and Aaron't.
They've had good lawyers.

If you're rich, and guilty, you have a better
chance of getting off. A good lawyer can do wonders for you. Just look at O.J.
—— or Bill Clinton. If you have a good lawyer and good PR,
public opinion may just get you off. But most of you don't rate that kind of
sympathy, much less afford that kind of lawyerly clout.

So you might just say, "I'm here because I had a
bad lawyer," and it would be true. You could be guilty as sin, and go
scot-free, if you just had the right kind of representation. You could have had
Johnny Cochran, but you got Joe Schmoe. Them's the breaks. You were guilty, had
poor representation, and you landed in the slammer. Poor you.

There is a court of higher appeal, and perhaps you
could get a lawyer for that who could get you off. I know of one who has never
lost a case. His clients have never been convicted. Every single one of them
has been found innocent. People who have committed the most vile and heinous
crimes have turned to him, and he's gotten them off. People who have done
little things, like cheated on taxes, or stolen candy from a Quick Mart, have
likewise been set free. People who have cheated on their wives, committed
adultery, done drugs, or murdered have been declared "not guilty." This lawyer
is so good that people would pay millions of dollars for him to take their
case. But he doesn't work for money, so he can't be bought. Every case he takes
he does pro bono — [for free]. You can't buy his services, but he
will give them away freely to anyone who asks.

His name is Jesus, and he stands before the
Supreme Court to defend you before the Judge of the Universe. What is really
strange about this court is that he won't get you off by telling a lie about
you. He won't deceive the jury. He will get you off by telling the truth, the
whole truth, and nothing but the truth… so help you, God! Every sin, every
selfishness, every secret desire and misdeed will be fully exposed. In fact,
everything you have ever done is already visible to this Judge. And you can't
use the "race card" in this court. You can't make excuses and you can't blame
it on your parents or on society. This Judge can see right through you and he
knows every little thing about you. He knows even the lies you tell yourself,
and He is not fooled!

But on the basis of one word from your attorney,
Jesus, he will let you off. He will let you go free, and he will declare you
"innocent of all the charges."

If you are going to go to this courtroom and face
this Judge [and someday, I guarantee you — you will!], you are going to
need the best attorney that money can't buy. You are going to
need someone who will argue your case for you. You are going to need someone
who has never lost a case. You are going to need this Jesus.

You can ask him to represent you now, or you can
end up like every other bum on death row. Without proper representation,
remember this —- you will get what you really deserve.

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