*WE, THE JURY
Presiding Judge: Mr. Foreman, has the jury reached a verdict?
Yes, your honor, we have. We, the
jury, in the case of ___________, find . . . .
That is an exchange that should be very familiar to
most. Whether you grew up watching
“Perry Mason”, “L.A. Law”, or the multitude of other television shows and
movies that seem to glamorize the practice of law, the idea of trial by a jury
of your peers is endemic in our society.
Each jury member, when chosen from the jury pool and after
sitting through voir dire, is empanelled to hear evidence presented for the
purpose of determining a verdict. When
that jury hears evidence, they are asked to apply a standard of proof particularly
used for their case. That standard of
proof governs how the jury is asked to look at the evidence.
For civil trials, that burden of proof is a “mere
preponderance” of the evidence or “it is more likely true than not true that
etc., .etc. For criminal trials that
burden of proof is “evidence beyond a reasonable doubt.” Many people misconstrue this instruction to
mean “evidence beyond any doubt”; this instruction is meant to introduce the
concept of reasonableness into the formula.
In other words you are asked to not leave your good sense at the door of
the courtroom. Finally, another standard
is used in certain cases such as fraud cases and that standard or burden of
proof is described as “clear and convincing.”
When I have been asked what each of these burdens mean in
terms of percentages, I have told the inquiring person that in my mind the
percentages would be 50%+ for civil so even a scintilla of evidence more than
50% would render judgment for the prevailing party. For criminal cases the percentage in my mind
was 90%+ before I could vote for a conviction because the duty was upon the
state to prove its case and meet that standard.
One of the basic precepts of our founding documents was that a man was
innocent until proven guilty by the state and it was this precept that set us
apart from many other countries on earth.
Finally, the “clear and convincing standard” in my mind would be met if
the prevailing party could show me to a least a 75% probability that what they
were contending was true before I could vote in their favor.
Each and every day we can read about jury verdicts
somewhere in our nation that influence the economy, stock prices, societal
trends or perceived mores. Many have had
the opportunity to serve on a jury and have actually experienced one of the
protections guaranteed to persons living under our Constitution. What many do not realize is that each living
person on the face of the planet acts as a juror every single day. The role of a juror is to sort through the allegations,
the testimony and the exhibits presented to find truth.
Man has wrestled with the question since the dawn of
time. What is truth? Many believe that truth is relative, i.e. it
is dependent upon the person and their circumstances. Others maintain that truth is absolute; it is
foundational belief, subject to verification that cannot be disputed. Lawyers, at least in my experience, assert
that truth is what the jury says it is; in other words, truth may or may not be
what was actually said or what in fact transpired but instead, it is what the
jury believed to have occurred. That
truth is based upon the evidence presented and argued before it.
In a letter directed to the church at Corinth by Paul, an apostle of Christ, we can
read an argument presenting the evidence for the case of Christ. It should be noted that, by definition, Paul
personally witnessed the risen personage of Jesus Christ; hence, he was denoted
as an apostle of Christ and not a disciple or follower of Christ.
Commencing with 1 Corinthians 15:1, Paul addresses the
converted and seeks to encourage them throughout this chapter.
1 Corinthians 15:1-2
** New International
King James Version
15:1 Now, brothers, I
want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on
which you have taken your stand. 2 By this gospel you are saved, if you hold
firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.
Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you,
which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; 2 By which also ye are
saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed
He starts out by calling them “brothers” and reminding them
of the gospel or good news that he had shared.
In turn they had received his preaching and had believed and apparently
had a taken a public stand of faith. It
was by this display of faith that they were saved and they demonstrated their
salvation by holding firm to the word of Christ preached to them. If they had failed to demonstrate their faith
by holding fast to it, their initial professed belief was in vain. In other words, demonstrated belief comes not
from just mouthing the words but rather comes from taking that belief in and making
it a part of your life.
Next, Paul testifies as a witness attempting to demonstrate
the foundational basis for his beliefs.
1 Corinthians 15:3-11
** New International
King James Version
3 For what I received I
passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins
according to the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the
third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Peter, and
then to the Twelve. 6 After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of
the brothers at the same time, most of whom are
still living, though some have fallen asleep. 7 Then he appeared to James,
then to all the apostles, 8 and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one
9 For I am the least of
the apostles and do not even deserve to be called an apostle, because I
persecuted the church
of God. 10 But by the
grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No,
I worked harder than all of them-yet not I, but the grace of God that was
with me. 11 Whether, then, it was I or they, this is what we preach, and this
is what you believed.
For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that
Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; 4 And that he was
buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: 5
And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: 6 After that, he was seen
of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto
this present, but some are fallen asleep. 7 After that, he was seen of James;
then of all the apostles. 8 And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one
born out of due time. 9 For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet
to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10 But by
the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was
not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the
grace of God which was with me. 11 Therefore whether it were I or they, so we
preach, and so ye believed.
Why would Paul do this?
Why would he raise these factual assertions in detail concerning the
death, burial and resurrection of Christ?
He did it because it reinforces accounts that they had already heard and
helps reinforce the basis for their belief system.
Paul, in his capacity has a witness, states that he
personally received what he had passed on to them and then he goes on to
recount the historicity of the resurrection of Christ. He emphasizes that Christ arose on the third
day (thereby verifying that Christ had died and not swooned as some would have
them to believe) and that this resurrection was “according to the Scriptures”,
i.e. it had been prophesied in the Old Testament.
Next, Paul asserts that Christ appears to Peter (who had
previously denied Him three times after His arrest) and to the other
apostles. The reason for this assertion
is that it could be verified by simply confronting Peter and the other apostles
about what happened. They were still
alive; they could be examined about their experiences concerning this
matter. Paul also says that Christ
appeared five hundred other people, most of whom were still living thereby
dispensing with the idea of mass hallucination (there is no such thing) and He
also appeared to James, the half-brother of Jesus (who had doubted his own
brother’s claims such as “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life”). It is understandable that a brother would
have a hard time listening to an older brother making these kinds of
claims. Certainly, it would have had an
affect on James’ everyday existence and not in a positive way.
Lastly, He appeared to Paul who describes himself as the
least of the apostles. This was a man of
Jewish descent who was a devout Pharisee raised to live by the law and who,
before his conversion, considered it his duty to persecute Christians. In fact, he looked approvingly upon the
stoning of Stephen, the first Christian martyr.
It was only by the grace of God that Paul’s life was radically changed
to that of a believer willing to then suffer and ultimately die for a belief
Paul then presents his argument for the resurrection of
Christ approaching it from the perspective of “what if.” What if Christ was not resurrected? Then, if that were the case, what would be
1 Corinthians 15:12-19
** New International
King James Version
But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some
of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 If there is no resurrection
of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. 14 And if Christ has not
been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. 15 More than
that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have
testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise
him if in fact the dead are not raised. 16 For if the dead are not raised,
then Christ has not been raised either. 17 And if Christ has not been raised,
your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who have
fallen asleep in Christ are lost. 19 If only for
this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men.
Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you
that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 But if there be no resurrection
of the dead, then is Christ not risen:
And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is
also vain. 15 Yea, and we are found false witnesses
of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he
raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not. 16 For if the dead rise not,
then is not Christ raised: 17 And if Christ be not
raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. 18 Then they also which
are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. 19 If in this life only we have
hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.
Apparently, there were some (probably Sadducees) who were
professing non-belief in the resurrection of the dead. If there is no resurrection of the dead, then
even Christ did not rise. If Christ did
not rise, then the preaching of Paul and the other apostles was worse than
useless; it was a deliberate deception, i.e. a lie and their faith was then baseless. If their faith was baseless, then they were
still dead in their sins and those who had previously died professing faith in
Christ were lost. If they were still
dead in their sins and the ones who had previously died were lost, then all
hope was lost and they were to be pitied more than any men because they had
However, going one step further, why would they do
this? Why would they create a deliberate
deception and willingly trade their own lives to simply mislead others? The answer from a purely psychological
perspective – they wouldn’t.
As he continues to construct his argument, the next point he
makes deals with the opposite assertion and he makes this assertion without
question. He positively states, as a
personal witness, that Christ was raised from the dead. He then goes on to explain the consequences
of that historical event.
1 Corinthians 15:20-28
** New International
King James Version
. 20 But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits
of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For since death came through a man, the
resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. 22 For as in Adam all die,
so in Christ all will be made alive. 23 But each in his own turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those
who belong to him. 24 Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom
to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power.
25 For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. 26 The
last enemy to be destroyed is death. 27 For he "has put everything under
his feet." Now when it says that "everything" has been put
under him, it is clear that this does not include God himself, who put
everything under Christ. 28 When he has done this, then the Son himself will
be made subject to him who put everything under him, so that God may be all
But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become
the firstfruits of them that slept. 21 For since by man came death, by man
came also the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, even so in
Christ shall all be made alive. 23 But every man in
his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at
his coming. 24 Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the
kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all
authority and power. 25 For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under
his feet. 26 The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. 27 For he hath
put all things under his feet. But when he saith, all things are put under him, it is manifest that he is excepted, which did put all
things under him. 28 And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then
shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.
After making his initial assertion, Paul explains that death
came through a man (Adam) and because of that event,
resurrection also had to come through a man (Jesus). All will be made alive through Jesus: Jesus Christ, the firstfruits (those who had
already died believing in Christ) and finally, those who belong to Him when He
comes again (at the point of the Rapture).
Following the Rapture, He will hands over the kingdom to God who will
destroy all of those who oppose Him and who have sought “dominion, authority
and power.” Paul personifies death as
the last enemy to be destroyed, it being the original intent of God that man
should never die. Ultimately, all will
be subjugated to God and at that point of time in history, all be will
Paul goes on to explain the concept of a resurrected body
and what it will mean. He gives an
analogy between a seed that is sown and the ending of the physical life.
1 Corinthians 15:35-44
** New International
King James Version
35 But someone may ask,
"How are the dead raised? With what kind of body will they come?"
36 How foolish! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies. 37 When
you sow, you do not plant the body that will be, but just a seed, perhaps of
wheat or of something else. 38 But God gives it a body as he has determined,
and to each kind of seed he gives its own body. 39 All flesh is not the same:
Men have one kind of flesh, animals have another,
birds another and fish another. 40 There are also heavenly bodies and there
are earthly bodies; but the splendor of the heavenly bodies is one kind, and
the splendor of the earthly bodies is another. 41 The sun has one kind of
splendor, the moon another and the stars another; and star differs from star
42 So will it be with the
resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised
imperishable; 43 it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in
weakness, it is raised in power; 44 it is sown a natural body, it is raised a
If there is a natural body,
there is also a spiritual body.
But some man will say, How are the dead raised up?
and with what body do they come?
Thou fool, that which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die: 37 And
that which thou sowest, thou sowest not that body that shall be, but bare
grain, it may chance of wheat, or of some other grain: 38 But God giveth it a
body as it hath pleased him, and to every seed his own body.
All flesh is not the same flesh: but there is one kind of flesh of men,
another flesh of beasts, another of fishes, and another of birds. 40 There
are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the
celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another. 41 There is
one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the
stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory. 42 So also is the
resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in
incorruption: 43 It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown
in weakness; it is raised in power: 44 It is sown a natural body; it is
raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual
Many are corned about the condition of the resurrected
body. They want to know what it will
look like, how it will behave, what will be its strengths and weaknesses. Our current physical bodies are weak,
perishable, dishonorable; our spiritual bodies will be
strong, eternal and honorable. In short,
they will be perfect, made to glorify God for all eternity. For some of us that may actually mean that we
have a real singing voice for the first time in our lives. We will have these bodies because Jesus
Christ was resurrected as testified to by many witnesses, one of which was Paul.
In litigation when you are faced with an opposing witness,
you have three choices. You can attempt
to (1) discredit the witness based upon some fact that will impugn his
testimony, or (2) limit the testimony of the witness by showing that he does not
have a full knowledge of all pertinent facts or (3) leave him alone. In this instance it would be virtually
impossible to discredit the testimony of Paul due to the credibility he brings
to the table as a Pharisee and citizen of Rome. Limiting his testimony by showing that he
does not have a full knowledge of the facts would also be extremely difficult
because it appears that he does. That
leaves only the third alternative which would be to ignore him hoping that the
jury slept through his testimony or that members of the jury would apply the
standard that no one can overcome: proof
beyond any doubt whatsoever.
Translated it means “don’t confuse me with the facts because I have
already made up my mind.” That would
seem to be the burden imposed by those who do not want to believe.
In that last part of this chapter, Paul goes on to recite a
mystery, a hope, a longing if you will for what is to come.
1 Corinthians 15:50-55
** New International
King James Version
.50 I declare to you, brothers, that flesh and blood
cannot inherit the kingdom
of God, nor does the
perishable inherit the imperishable. 51 Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will
not all sleep, but we will all be changed- 52 in a flash, in the twinkling of
an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be
raised imperishable, and we will be changed. 53 For the perishable must
clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal
with immortality. 54 When the perishable has been clothed with the
imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is
written will come true: "Death has been swallowed up in
55 "Where, O death,
is your victory? Where, O death, is your
Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit
incorruption. 51 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we
shall all be changed, 52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last
trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised
incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 53 For this corruptible must put on
incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. 54 So when this
corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on
immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying
that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. 55 O death, where is thy
sting? O grave, where is thy victory?
Paul, of course, is speaking of the rapture of the
saints. All will be changed “in the
twinkling of an eye.” In that moment we
will become imperishable, clothed with immortality. In an instant death will lose its sting; it
will no longer be victorious. It will no
longer reign over the children of God.
In that moment the truth will become evident to all and that
truth is that Jesus Christ is the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. No longer will He be denied but He could
still be ignored by those of the jury who simply choose to disregard the
testimony of His sovereignty. Jesus
Christ is coming again and when He does, it will be with the sound of a trumpet
that calls God’s children home. Don’t be
caught napping. Be awake! Be watching!
There is a sign near my home that proudly proclaims the
truth testified to by the apostle Paul before he lost his life for his cause. Christo Viene Pronto! Translated, it means, “Christ Is Coming
Soon!” Believe it.
** A modern language quote is provided for readability together
with the accompanying KJV version which is believed by many to be a more
accurate representation of the original scripture.
Comments or questions may be directed to the author at firstname.lastname@example.org.