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Ben Matlock, For the Defense

Friday, October 4, 2019

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“I know the prosecutor in this case, and she is a very tough cookie.” – Andy Griffith as Ben Matlock

For a period of several months, Deanna and I relaxed in the evenings by watching old episodes of Matlock. We recorded them, so by fast-forwarding through the commercials, a single episode only took about 40 minutes. If it was late or we were really tired, we would only watch one episode and then turn in for the night. However, if it was early and we weren’t sleepy, we would often watch two.

On the show, Andy Griffith plays the role of Ben Matlock, an Atlanta-based attorney who is one of the top defense lawyers in the country. His $100,000 fee is prohibitively high (remember, the series ran from 1986-1995); but he rarely loses a case.

In addition to being expensive, Ben is high-strung, blustery, scheming, and given to courtroom histrionics. He is also very cheap, which may be one of the reasons why he loves to eat hot dogs. But the bottom line is this: if your life is on the line, Ben Matlock is who you want representing you. Nobody argues a case better than Ben!

In the same way, there is no better defense attorney in heaven’s courtroom than Jesus Christ. Unlike the above scenario, there is nothing blustery, scheming or cheap about Jesus. In fact, He is always under control and when He speaks, waves stop rolling and winds cease to blow. And there is absolutely nothing cheap about Jesus either. On the contrary, He purchased salvation with His own blood and offers it freely for the taking.

Sitting at the prosecutor’s table is someone with thousands of years of experience. He digs up dirt on the defendant and then hurls torrents of accusations at them, one after another. Worst of all, he has the evidence to back up his hateful claims.

The courtroom shakes with his boisterous allegations and the verdict is never in doubt. Surely a jury of the defendant’s peers would find him guilty as charged… and sentence him harshly, too. All hope is seemingly lost.

As the courtroom drama comes to a close, Jesus Christ rises to His feet and everyone falls silent out of respect and awe. “It is true,” He begins His closing argument, “that my client has committed the crimes for which he has been charged... and many more, as a matter of fact. However, I have already paid the fine and served the sentence for his crimes and here, in heaven’s courtroom, there is no such thing as double jeopardy.”

Because there is no jury, the verdict is left solely to the Judge. As His gavel comes down with a thunderous roar, He announces in a voice loud enough to be heard throughout all of creation, “Not guilty!”

The case is closed and the verdict is forever sealed. The only thing left to do is to fall at the feet of Jesus out of love and gratitude.

“Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies.” Romans 8:33 (NKJV)

- Rev. Dale M. Glading, President

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