Jamin recently participated as one of two defense lawyers in a mock trial exercise for a part of his final grade in one of his law classes at Liberty University. It was a civil case, which has been tried in this particular class for the past twelve years.
The scenario is that Alan Blizzard lost control of his 1968 Jaguar after hitting a large pothole. It caused the left tie rod to snap. Blizzard’s car struck another vehicle, and John Wolford was killed. His wife, Joye, sued Blizzard. The twist was that it was possible the tie rod had been previously and deliberately cut by a certain mechanic, David Jimenez, who had worked on the car a week before the accident occurred. His employer, Michael Rover, who owned the garage and body shop, was summoned to testify for the defense.
Jamin asked me to participate and play the part of the garage owner, Rover. I readily accepted the invitation. Jamin said that he needed for me to play the part as realistically as possible. A jury would be put in place to render a verdict, and the defense and plaintiff law students would be competing hard to get a decision in their favor. Other individuals were asked to serve as witnesses. The class professor served as the judge.
So, I dressed the part of a mechanic. While on the stand, I was asked about tie rods, and I gave explanation like a mechanic. When asked, I described certain parts of the undercarriage. I used terms associated with being a mechanic. Jamin did the direct examination for the defense, and the plaintiff law student did a rigorous cross- examination.
After my testimony, the judge called for a recess. The jury members congregated together in a lounge area of the school’s hallway, and, as I happened to walk by, one asked, “How do you know so much about cars?” Before I could answer, another asked, “Are you really a mechanic?” I knew then that I must have been rather convincing with the way I looked and talked while on the stand.
According to the Scripture, apostles Peter and John were called on the carpet by the religious leaders in Jerusalem after those two had healed a lame man in the Temple and had followed it up with a convincing testimony about the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
It was noted, “Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marveled, and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.”
At their trial, Peter and John had been convincing to their examiners that they were identified with Jesus Christ. They talked about Jesus. They stood up for Jesus. The healing they had performed was done in the name of Jesus. Their very countenance suggested strongly that they had been with Jesus.
This, of course, begs the question of those associated with the Church: how convincing are you with others that you are a Christian? Can others hear your identification with Jesus by what you say and talk about? Can others see your identification with Jesus by how you live?
We are able to convince others that we are Christians when they see us attend church faithfully. We are able to convince others we are Christians when they hear us talk about the Bible, or know that we pray to God, or hear us describe how Jesus died on the Cross and rose from the dead that all might be saved from eternal condemnation to eternal life in Heaven.
And, if you wonder whether it is important or not to be a convincing Christian with a consistent and truthful testimony, consider the words of Paul, who made it absolutely clear, “I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ.”
If you are a Christian, be convincing about it. Jesus Christ changes lives.
In that moment of brief encounter, one of the jury members asked what it was I did. When I told them I was a Southern Baptist minister, they all burst into laughter. Not sure why.
Pastor Ron Branch lives in Mason County and is pastor of Hope Baptist Church, Middleport, Ohio.