Who was the greatest public defender of all time? Public defenders have represented clients like Theodore Kaczynski, Eric Rudolph, and the Atlanta Olympics bomber. One public defender stands out from all others. Having a better understanding of this public defender’s actions in court might help us strengthen our faith. Please read more.
Why do defense lawyers defend people accused of rape, murder, and other heinous crimes? One defense lawyer explained it this way, “Strange as it may seem, I grew to like to defend men and women charged with crime. … I became vitally interested in the causes of human conduct. … I was dealing with life, with its hopes and fears, its aspirations and despairs.”
A good defense lawyer works hard to look below the surface of the person they are representing. They are clearly aware of the gravity of the wrong that has been perpetrated, but they try to see the real humanity of the person they represent.
Our legal system has long seen fit to provide a free public defender to anyone unable to afford an attorney. However, these public defenders are looked down on. Their law school classmates see them as lawyers who could not get a “real job.” Their clients distrust them, and many others view them with disdain because they represent “evil” people.
Public defenders, knowing that some clients are guilty, have as their primary objective getting the most lenient sentence possible. Public defenders representing accused murderers, strive to get their clients life in prison rather than the death penalty.
As far back as 494 BC, Romans provided Tribunes to intercede on behalf of Roman citizens who were facing a magistrate or other official. All people should be entitled to a solid legal defense and you and I are no different.
What is our offense? Our offense is the sins we commit. None of us are exempt. We’re told in Romans 3:23, “all have sinned and are deprived of the glory of God.” What is the punishment for our sins? Romans 6:23 tells us, “For the wages of sin is death.” However, it continues, “but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Romans 2:5-6 tells us, “By your stubbornness and impenitent heart, you are storing up wrath for yourself for the day of wrath and revelation of the just judgment of God, who will repay everyone according to his works.”
God is a just God. His sentence at judgement day will be fair. Thankfully, He has given us His Son as our arbitrator and mediator. Jesus is our Public Defender. We are told in John 3:17, “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him.”
What then makes Jesus the greatest public defender of all time? All public defenders advocate on behalf of their clients. Like other great public defenders, Jesus sees our humanity and He sees the good in us. Unlike any other public defender, Jesus is the only one who serves the sentence for the clients He represents. He alone offers substitutionary atonement for those who are convicted of their crimes. As stated above, the price for our sins is death. Jesus died on the cross to serve out our sentence. In 1 Peter 3:18 we read, “For Christ also suffered for sins once, the righteous for the sake of the unrighteous, that he might lead you to God.”
Many accused of crimes do not trust their public defender. Do you truly trust in your Public Defender, Jesus Christ? St. Jerome once said, “Do not despair of His mercy no matter how great your sins. For His great mercy will take away great sins.”
Both the Old and New Testaments give us the assurance we need to trust in our Public Defender. We are told in Ezekiel 18:21-22 “But if the wicked man turns away from all the sins he has committed, if he keeps all my statutes and does what is just and right, he shall surely live. He shall not die! None of the crimes he has committed shall be remembered against him; he shall live because of the justice he has shown.” In 1 Thessalonians 5:9 we read, “For God did not destine us for wrath, but to gain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ,”
Christian author Brennan Manning challenges us to have “ruthless trust” and never doubt God’s mercy. We can’t let our past sins continue to haunt us. Christ’s forgiveness is complete! We must stop looking back. In Luke 9:62 “Jesus said, “No one who sets a hand to the plow and looks to what was left behind is fit for the kingdom of God.” Paul tell us in Philippians 3:13-14 to forget what lies behind us and keep our eyes on the prize ahead, Jesus Christ.
You and I have the greatest Public Defender of all time! Isaiah 12:2 calls us to remain confident and unafraid. For the LORD is our strength and might, and He is our salvation.”
Heavenly Father, thank you for the gift of your Son Jesus Christ who so willingly paid the price for my sins. Help me never to lose trust in your mercy. Amen.
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