SLIDE 5: Reality is Messy
- My jury duty experience
- What are alternatives methods that God could have chosen to reveal his truth to us?
To address this, I want to share about my jury duty experience this past week. I’ve shown up to court before to serve for jury duty but this is the first time I was selected.
I was first assigned to a break in and entry double homicide case. It was expected to be a 26 day trial and the judge was Judge Ito. You may recall the name – he was the judge for the OJ Simpson trial. I believe Jay Leno even did a “Dancing with the Itos” sketch back in the day.
He’s a really funny guy. When all of us heard that it was going to be a 26 day trial, one by one we gave our reasons why we could not serve on this trial.
Many of us gave the reason of financial hardship because our work doesn’t pay for jury duty days. And the judge would ask us what we did for a living and what company we worked for. And some people would say, I work for a law firm or I work for the county and they would give the same reason – my work doesn’t cover for jury duty days.
And after hearing these excuses, Judge Ito would mock us one by one and say, isn’t it odd that a law firm or the LA county does not support our judicial system and the principles upon which this great country of ours was founded.
Then, I started getting nervous. So when it was my turn, I gave the same sheepish response that others were giving. And he said, where do you work? I told him the name of the company and that it was a software company. Then, he said, have you heard of intellectual property? Yes. And Judge Ito asked, who do you think protects a company’s intellectual property? I don’t know what I said, but he said, I do, our legal system protects your company from losing their intellectual property. So you go and tell that to your boss.
Whew, I thought I was done. But, no. He had one more parting shot. Maybe because I am a fellow Asian, he decided to interrogate me more. He said, have you heard of the Gettysburg Address. On the spot I could only remember the first two words — four score — and so I just answered, kind of. Then, he mocked me for not knowing the greatest speech ever written. Good thing I failed to tell him that I grew up a few minutes away from Gettysburg, PA.
Luckily, I was excused from this case, but about 30 min later, I was called into a shorter domestic violence case and I ended up being selected as an alternate for that jury and it ended up being a 4 day trial.
Something definitely happened on the evening of the alleged crime. There is a historical fact of there being some type of struggle on that night, but the girlfriend has one version of what happened and the boyfriend has another. And there are no other eye witnesses. So as a jury, it comes down to, who do we believe more?
Did he grab with one hand or did he grab with 2 hands and shake her? Was there a spatula involved, if so, did he strike with the spatula, or was the boyfriend defending himself and trying to take it out of her hands? Did the son of the mother attack the boyfriend with a curling iron? And did the boyfriend choke the son or was it self-defense and he was just trying to take the curling iron out of the boy’s hands? Was the girlfriend drinking that night because she regularly drinks 1 or 2 wine bottles a day or was she sober that night? The boyfriend called a friend after the alleged incident and seemed to be suicidal. Was that a sincere cry for help or was that all an act to gain sympathy? Something happened, an event took place. But the details surrounding this event are messy and we had to determine who we believed more because there were no other eye witnesses.
That is why Jesus did not appear to a single person. He ensured that ther ewere multiple eye witnesses. So Jesus deliberately appeared over a period of 40 days, not just to one person, but to numerous individuals and smaller groups and larger crowds. And these pockets of disciples were all under tremendous stress. There was the inner turmoil of having lost their beloved Rabbi and teacher. On top of this, they faced the imminent threat of persecution from the Romans. So they were in a mental state where it was difficlt to recall every detail. Hence, there are some discrepancies regarding the fringe details of what happened during this 50 day period. But one thing cannot be argued — every single one of them claimed one thing — I saw the resurrected Christ.
The tomb is empty. This is a historic fact. And their consistent testimony is that the tomb is empty because they saw with their own eyes the risen Jesus. And it wasn’t just a momentary flash on a single day. Because then you could say it could have been a dream or it was a hot summer day and they ate some bad fish and had a hallucination. Rather, Jesus appeared over a period of time and a group of them touched him, they ate with him. The Bible records details like Jesus eating a fish in their midst and they actually witnessed the flesh of the fish disappearing as they watched. The fish was there one moment and then a few minutes later, it was only bones. I saw it.
It’s important to note that this resurrection is not a doctrine or a teaching. The resurrection is a historic event and this is the basis for our faith in Christ.
It has been said that the gospel account and its discrepancies have a ring of truth. Because humans are messy. Reality is messy. Truth about humans is messy. Instead of the discrepancies detracting from the credibility of these accounts, I believe they demonstrate a true to life quality. This is how reality works. It’s messy.
Opponents of Christianity argue that these discrepancies discredit their testimony. Then, what are the alternatives?