Brian Banks was a High School Football player in his final year. He had been scouted by major universities and dreamed about a possible professional football career. But near the end of the year, a female student accused him of assaulting her. He was arrested and charged. Brian claimed he was innocent of the charges. His defense lawyer advised that a trial would cost lots of money and a conviction could lead to decades in prison. So he was advised to take a plea bargain.
He pleaded “no contest” to the charge and was sentenced to five years. In prison he was called a dangerous offender. Upon his release he had to register as a sex offender and had to wear a monitoring device. All the while, he continued to proclaim his innocence.
He started a new Facebook account. Soon, he was contacted by the female student who accused him. She agreed to meet with him and a private investigator. Brian took a secret recording device along. During their conversation, she admitted to making the whole thing up so that she and her family could sue the school. They had been awarded 1.5 million dollars in an out of court settlement.
Brian took the recording and contacted an organization called The Innocence Project. They took up his case. 10 years after his initial arrest, Brian Banks was completely exonerated of the crimes of which he was accused. Banks then pursued professional football and was able to earn a spot on the Atlanta Falcons football team. There is talk of making a movie of his life.
Now Brian Banks’s story is not unusual. Many innocent people confess to crimes they don’t commit or enter into a plea bargain because they have been advised to do so. They are presented with plea bargain as the lesser of two evils and see no other way out. So in a sense, they go along with the injustice in the hopes that they will suffer less in the long run. Yet they still proclaim their innocence. Some work to clear their name after their prison time is done.
Today, we are going to look at a similar scenario. We will see Jesus, an innocent man arrested and tried. But this man’s behavior and words reveal a different motivation than the desire to clear his name. He behaves in ways that seem to worsen his standing before his accusers. Why would he do that? That’s what we’re going to explore as we walk through His arrest and trial. As we go through this, we will discover that His motivation is connected to us. It was for us that he went through with it. Once we look at this, we will think about some ways we can respond.