Tom was not an ordinary criminal, he was as bad as they come. But he had been caught. Now he sat in prison thinking desperately of escape or suicide. Neither was possible. He was too closely guarded. The future looked black. He was at the end of his rope.
Then one day a prison official came to Tom's cell and said, "Tom, a lawyer has been assigned to your case and he is the best lawyer in the whole world." Tom knew there must be a catch somewhere. The official continued, "The prosecuting attorney has also been assigned and he's the best prosecuting attorney in the world."
The next day a quiet sort of gentleman came to Tom's cell and knocked. Tom looked up startled, "You've got the key, man," he said. "Why knock?"
"I only go where I'm invited," replied the visitor.
"Well come in," Tom said. "I wasn't going anywhere."
The man entered the cell. "I'm a lawyer," he said. "I understand you're looking for a lawyer to take your case."
"Yes," said Tom. "It's about time they finally sent me someone. Tell me about yourself. I hear you're supposed to be good."
"Well," said the lawyer, "I have some good news for you and bad news. The good news is that I've never lost a case. If you place yourself in my hands, I can guarantee the outcome."
"The bad news is the price, right?" said Tom. "OK, lay it on me. How much will it cost?"
"It's free," said the lawyer.
"Hey, I don't need your charity," said Tom stiffly. "Get me out of here and I will pay for it!"
The lawyer smiled kindly, "If you want my help, you must accept it as a gift. It is totally and completely free."
Tom was silent for a few minutes and then asked, "Are there any other conditions?"
"I have some more good news and bad news," the lawyer said. "The good news is that all you have to do, if you want me to take your case, is just ask me. I'll take it immediately. The bad news is you'll have to plead guilty."
"Guilty!" interrupted Tom, "But how can you help me if I plead guilty?"
"I have some bad news for you and some good news," said the lawyer. "The bad news is that if you plead guilty, you'll be convicted. And, if you don't plead guilty, there is enough evidence to convict you anyway. Either way you'll get the death sentence."
"Then why even have a trial?" said Tom.
"You've forgotten that I have some good news," said the lawyer. "I'm willing to take your sentence and let you go free."
"I can't let you pay for my crimes!" cried Tom.
"But I already have paid," replied the lawyer. "If you'll accept my substitution in your behalf, it's yours."
A turmoil of thoughts whirled in Tom's brain. At last he spoke, "I'm interested, but are there any other conditions?"
"Yes," said the lawyer with a smile. "You and I must become friends and spend time together. As our friendship grows, you'll become more like me and less like a criminal."
"Wow!" exclaimed Tom. "Who wouldn't want a friend like you? That sounds wonderful! I accept! Is there anything else I should know?"
"One final thing," said the lawyer. "I have one last bit of good news and bad news for you."
Tom smiled. "Give me the bad news first and get it over with, although all of a sudden it doesn't seem as though any of your bad news has been that bad!"
The lawyer smiled too. "All right. The bad news is that we have set the date for your trial."
"Why, that's not bad news at all," exclaimed Tom. "With a lawyer like you, do you think I would want to stay here in this place forever and never even have my case come to court?!? Your good news will have to be pretty good to out do that."
The lawyer looked into Tom's eyes for a moment before he said gently, "The good news is this: When you come to trial, I will not only be your lawyer. I will be your judge as well."
Do you know your friend, Jesus? ... the Judge!
Lesson 10 - Conclusion