Jesus at the Courthouse

Did you know that Jesus prayed and ministered to people in front of his local courthouse? He did, and he did it often. In fact, one can safely say the local courthouse, which was the temple in His day, was one of Jesus’ favorite places to reach people. Matthew records “the blind and the lame came to him at the temple, and he healed them,” (Matt. 21:14, New International Version).

Numerous other passages recount times when Jesus confronted the lawyers, judges, and teachers of the law with His view of what God’s law truly requires and what God’s law is meant to lead us to—which is a recognition of our need of a Messiah and Savior. Can you imagine how many people Jesus healed and saved in front of his courthouse? Do you think He may have chosen to frequent the local courthouse on purpose? I do.

As an attorney, I know what it is like to go to court and to feel the weight of the law or the apprehension of having to stand before a judge, and I am a professional. I am paid to have it all together and to be a fearless, confident advocate. Now pause and consider the thousands of people who are not attorneys, be they men, women, or children, who file in and out of your local courthouses each year. Consider how they feel—alone, broken, anxious, angry, afraid, or perhaps all of the above. These feelings are the result of the law at work and the weight of the law bearing down on men and women who aren’t able to shoulder its demands or its consequences. It is in this context that Jesus worked. It is in this context the message Jesus shared—one of hope, forgiveness of sins, healing, reconciliation, and eternal life—was truly received as good news!

But that was then and this is now, right? Wrong. Let me tell you about a growing ministry called Courtside Ministries, of which I am gladly a part, which works with volunteers from local churches to offer prayer and the love of Jesus to people going in and out of the courthouses in America. Courtside Ministries started in 2009 when my late friend Tyler Makepeace, a criminal defense attorney in Colorado Springs, CO, began offering to pray for the people heading in and out of his local courthouse.

What started with a small card table in front of a Colorado courthouse and a tablecloth that reads “Need Prayer?” has grown into a prayer ministry that partners with and equips Christian attorneys, pastors, and members of local churches to pray for and love on thousands of people each year. We pray with them, we present the Gospel to them, and then we try to connect them with local churches. Last year alone, Courtside volunteers prayed for over 27,000 people and over 1,600 people committed their lives to Jesus. Praise God! In just over five years time, the ministry has exploded from one day at one courthouse in Colorado to numerous days at 23 courthouses all across the country—California, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, North Carolina—with others soon to come.

If you would like to hear more about supporting or getting involved with Courtside Ministries in your area, please let me know. I would also be happy to send you an invitation to our 4th Annual Banquet on October 31 at the Diplomat West Banquet Hall, 681 W. North Avenue, Elmhurst, IL 60126 from 5:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. At the banquet you will hear from men and women whose lives have been transformed by the Gospel through Courtside Ministries in front of their local courthouses. Register at CourtsideMinistries.org.

Also see: Pausing to Pray

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