In the movie “My Cousin Vinny”, Vincent Gambini is an inexperienced lawyer called from New York to represent his cousin who has been charged with murder in Alabama. The reason? Because he was always able to figure out stuff when he was a kid, from magic tricks to riddles. While the movie mostly portrays Vinnie as a bumbling incompetent, Vinny shows that he can make up for his ignorance and inexperience with aggressive, perceptive questioning during the trial. The first witness testifies seeing Vinny’s nephew arrive at the murder scene parking lot before he started cooking his breakfast grits and saw him flee from the scene after hearing a gunshot. Vinny points out that it takes 20 minutes to make real grits (as opposed to instant grits which no self-respecting southerner would ever use) and so 20 minutes had actually passed between those two events, thus suggesting that there may have been two different cars involved. An elderly “eyewitness” cannot identify how many fingers Vinny was holding up at half the distance she had been from the getaway car in which she claimed to see Vinny’s cousin. Another eyewitness is forced to question his own identification of the defendant when Vinny points out he had been looking through a “dirty window, crud covered screen, a bunch of leaf-covered trees, and seven bushes on his property”. These scenes are priceless because Vinny discredits those whose “testimony” supports an injustice – something that is simply not true.
Our text this week is kind of like that. Jesus is being cross examined by the religious authorities. They want to discredit Jesus’ “testimony”. But then something interesting happens. Jesus seems to get a “friendly question” from a lawyer of all people: “Which commandment is the first of all?” What follows is a brief conversation that teaches us “What Makes Jesus Glad?” which is the title of Pastor Jeff’s message this week which is based on Mark 12: 28-34. Pastor Jeff has preached this before, but times have changed, though the message has not. Come and hear about it Sunday August 5 at 9:30 at John McMillan Presbyterian Church.