By Ben Swift
All rise. Do you the reader, solemnly swear to seek the whole truth and nothing but the truth? Then please be seated and consider the case put before you.
The accuser (A): Would you please state your name for the record?
The defendant (D): I tell you the truth, before Abraham was born, I AM. (John 8:58)
A: That doesn’t make any sense. How is this relevant?
D: Moses once asked this question of my Father. His response was, “I AM WHO I AM”. (Exodus 3:14)
A: Are you then claiming the name and therefore the divinity of the God of Moses; the God of Israel?
D: I and the Father are one. (John 10:30)
A: You do understand that to make such a claim is outrageous. Ladies and gentlemen of the court, I want to make this perfectly clear, the man sitting before us, Jesus of Nazareth, clearly a human being of flesh and blood, is claiming to be God! Not to have become God, but to have been God from eternity.
By whose authority do you make such a claim?
D: You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world. I told you that you would die in your sins; if you do not believe that I am the one I claim to be, you will indeed die in your sins. (John 8:23-24)
A: Make no mistake folks, this man standing before us is not only claiming to be God, but also has the audacity to claim an exclusive ability to save us from our sins.
Now, I don’t want to jump the gun here so let me provide you with another chance to clarify what it is you’re saying. Are you in fact claiming to be the only way in which we can be saved; the only source of ultimate life and hope?
D: I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life. (John 8:12)
A: Yes but there are many who claim to hold the truth about such things. There are a vast number of suggested roads to life. Are you suggesting that you are the only way? I want to be crystal clear about this!
D: I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him. (John 14:6-7)
A: These are very exclusive claims. I’m not sure I like what you’re implying here. Is there anything else you would like to add to drive your point home any further?
D: Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only few find it. (Matthew 7:13-14)
A: Surely you do realize that by saying these things you are offending vast arrays of people who have chosen alternative paths to follow? I mean, it’s no secret that your followers claim that God is a God of love. Surely this God whom you claim to be one with would not deny people the freedom to choose their own paths and truths to live by? Just how narrow is your road?
D: If you love me, you will obey what I command. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor, to be with you forever – the Spirit of truth. (John 14:15-16)
A: Here you go again, claiming to hold the keys to truth, not a truth but ‘the truth’. Ladies and gentlemen, people of the jury, let’s be clear about this. The claims being made here carry with them far reaching consequences. We need to ask ourselves, “What is truth?”
Surely, we are free to decide that for ourselves?
Why should we believe you? Why should we listen to you?
D: For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. (John 3:16-18)
A: Well this all sounds interesting but where is the proof? This is a trial after all. Surely such extravagant claims need to be supported with solid evidence. If you really are the Son of God, show us your power, show us that you are able to overcome death.
D: If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead. (Luke 16:31)
Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed. (John 20:29)
A: People of the jury, consider these words. This man, through his claims of ultimate truth and hope leaves no room for subjectivity when it comes to belief and faith in him. You are either for him or against him. He is either who he claims to be or guilty of the greatest delusion known to human history. It is our duty to carefully consider the evidence as we weigh up these claims put before us. This task is not one to take lightly.
This case is a matter of life and death; the verdict remains eternally significant.