I, THE JURY
READ: JOHN 21: 20-25
“I saw all this myself and have given an accurate report to that you also can believe.” John 19:35 (Living Bible)
The summons for jury duty arrived at a rather inopportune moment as I had a number of activities planned for that day. The “call” listed a number of possible excuses that I could use for not serving. However, no exception was cited for preferring to do something else, so I reported at the specified place and time.
My awareness of what it meant to be a juror was flavored by my past experience of reading a number of mystery novels and watching some crime television dramas. I was quite unprepared for reality. About one hundred or so of us were herded into a large auditorium and attendance was taken by the clerk. Several absences were noted and the presiding judge didn’t seem too pleased that these potential jurors were missing. He inquired of the bailiff as to their whereabouts. His query was responded to by a shrug of the bailiff’s shoulders. The judge remarked that maybe a weekend in jail would help educate them as to their civic responsibilities. The judge excused us for the day and instructed us to report on Monday morning at 9 a.m. sharp! Each of us was present at the designated time including the previous absentees who appeared to have had a less than desirable weekend!
After being assembled and given a rather lengthy lecture on the duty of serving as a juror and given an oath of service, we were instructed to wait for possible selection. The first group was called and I was not among them. Inwardly, I thought that I might be free to engage in my previously planned activities after all. However, my reverie was rudely interrupted as I was the first name to be called for the next panel. We were ushered to a court room and after undergoing questions from both the defense and prosecuting attorneys, twelve plus two alternates were selected and I was one of the “chosen”.
Each of us took our responsibilities seriously and listening carefully
to each of the witnesses. Some were less believable than others. Finally, after the closing statements were made, we were led to the jury room. We were instructed that our first order of business was to select a foreman and the other jurors gave me that dubious honor. I suggested that we should go around the table and each express our general observations about the trial and NOT to draw or to suggest any conclusion as to the guilt or innocence of the defendant. One fact that quickly emerged was the feeling that some testimony was less credible than others and
some witnesses seemed to lack candor. Amazingly, as we reviewed the facts, consensus rather quickly emerged as to who or what was believable and utilizing this information, we were rather quickly able to reach a verdict. Although certain technical aspects were in dispute, my faith in the jury system was enhanced by the fact that peers from a variety of backgrounds could quite accurately assess the credibility of each witness and reach an opinion in regard to the presented evidence.
To my surprise and amazement, my devotional reading the next morning was based on John 21:20-25. I was aware that each of the Gospels was written specifically to show that Jesus was the Christ and each writer clearly and systematically presented evidence to prove his case. Therefore, as in the jury room we need to individually review the evidence and as each of us examines the evidence presented in the Gospels, we need toreach a verdict. Is He the Son of God or isn’t He? You are the juror; each Gospel writer has presented the evidence. What is YOUR verdict?