As the one guilty of many murders stood before the judge, he was asked, "How do you plead?" The man's lawyer said, "My client pleads not guilty." The crowd in the courtroom roared with laughter and contempt. The judge responded by asking his lawyer to approach the bench. No one could hear what he told the judge, but he seemed to be reading something from a book he was carrying. When he returned to his place, much to every one's amazement, the judge said, "Case dismissed." Outside the courtroom, reporters tried desperately to hear what the freed man had to say. His only words were, "I want to thank my Lawyer, and simply say, I am not the man I used to be."
Meanwhile, back in the courtroom, the other man, the one who had killed his brother, heard the news that the "mass murderer" had "walked." He thought to himself, "If a guy guilty of several murders could be set free by this judge, my chances are looking really good!" Like before, the judge asked him, "How do you plead?" His lawyer responded, "My client pleads not guilty, your honor." The crowd in the courtroom seemed to agree, and there were smiles all around. Again, like before, the judge asked the lawyer to approach the bench. Again, no one in the court could hear what they were saying, but they were apparently reading out of the same book as before. When the lawyer returned to his place, the judge said, "I hereby sentence this man to death." The crowd gasped in shock. They, like the young man, had expected the judge to have no problem with this case, especially since all the evidence pointed to manslaughter, rather than to pre-meditated murder. When reporters asked the young man what he had to say, he stood in stunned silence.
Rather than explain this parable, I will provide you with some clues which, should you choose to take the time to investigate them in your Bible, will reveal the message I believe to be of the utmost importance. Clue one: before this Judge, all men are guilty. Clue two: the Lawyer is better known as "the Advocate." Clue three: there are obviously two standards for sentencing guilty men - the Law, and whatever is written in the Advocate's book.
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