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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.

Dead Sea Scrolls

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