Litigious banter flew, as a pearl of sweat cut a trail down the weathered features of the defendant. Above large brown eyes, the steep course of his sloping forehead shone, reflecting incandescence from above. He brought an age splotched hand to the oversized nose, drying moisture seeping from his cavernous nostrils with the back of an index finger. Swiveling his globular noggin around, the once ruggedly handsome face glared at the prosecutor, who'd just finished a ranting diatribe, intended to paint a mendacious image of his prey's character.
The defendant wondered, "Would the character of this same persecuting antagonist stand up to such erroneous, creative scrutiny?" Samuel Barnes squirmed to keep planted in the defendant seat. His two bushy eyebrows squeezed together. "A legal license to twist and exaggerate the truth." The thought deeply lined his scrunched face with concern. A quick glance at the man who was supposed to be his defending champion brought even greater concern. His lawyer seemed either lackadaisical or stymied, non-challenging.
"Would both counsels please approach the bench?" Spoke the presiding man in the daunting black robe.
Three whispering voices felt like darts to Sam's liver. Words were indistinguishable, yet sounded ominous none-the-less. Twelve seconds, that's all, and the two attorneys returned, each to their respective rectangular tables.
The charge was murder in the first degree, and Kansas was still a hanging state. This was the first time Sam Barnes, a 46 year-old widower had ever been charged with a crime of any sort. He'd been the town's blacksmith for twelve years. Though his church attendance was sparse of late, he was a believer. And his faith was as strong as his stalwart shoulders and arms that had been hardened on the anvil.
That faith in Jesus was the only thing Sam had to rely on now. Prayers mingled with sweat and tears had ascended continuously over the past week from his torn heart, pleading for vindication, for deliverance.
Testimony had been given from one who held a long standing grudge against the quiet metallurgist. This witness for the state, a wiry farmer, was Sam's late wife, Becky's childhood sweetheart. But the corn grower had turned surely and abusive, losing her to Sam. The farmer had seen Sam at the scene of the crime an hour before the killing had occurred, and was a little too eager to give his testimony.
The defense attorney was just about to whisper something in Sam's ear, when he was interrupted by the hasty delivery of a crudely scrawled note.
The adjudicating tribunal sat agape in shock! Within a millisecond Sam had disappeared before their eyes. The "age of grace" had expired. Instantly, Samuel Barnes felt himself soaring straight up into the sky. Around him he could see the souls of many others, all converging to gather within a brilliant halo of glorious light in the clouds. Jesus had called His own unto Himself.
Sam was acutely aware of what was to come. No longer was the murder charge, of which he was innocent, a factor in his life. The mysterious expiration date of that life had passed. The only thing that mattered now, was that he had in fact placed his faith in Jesus for the forgiveness of those sins he knew he was guilty of. His vindication would come through the sacrifice of Jesus those many years ago. He would be found, "Not Guilty" by reason of his faith in the shed blood of his precious Savior, Jesus the Christ.
Every face Sam saw, was now aglow and wet with joyful tears. Songs of praise burst from the throats of all present. Sam joined in, surprised at his new vocal ability. Once again that big globular pate turned, only to come face to face with a familiar sight.
Becky saw Sam first. And when he turned, her elegant arms were already open to receive her earthly husband's warm embrace. But the face everyone most wanted to behold was awesome, omnipotent and filled with love. It was the Lord Jesus, the King of Kings, preparing to return to earth.
Jesus shepherded His flock to a heavenly waiting area. He said, "Well done, my children! This next period of waiting will elapse quickly, while evil is dealt with. Enter into the joy of your Lord, where; love and peace, beauty and bliss will never end. There is no expiration date here!"
(The age of grace could expire any moment. Tick-Tock.)
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