An important title of Jesus is tucked away in the small book of 1 John in our Bibles. Verse 1 of the second chapter says, “My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an Advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.”
What is an advocate? It is someone who goes to bat for another, pleading their cause, making sure their case is attended to, wanting better things for them, and willing to stand publicly for them. Some people are advocates for the homeless. Others are advocates for the unborn. Lawyers act as advocates when they take your concern to court to plead your case before the judge and jury. As our Advocate, Jesus stands for us before the Father.
When I think of an advocate, my mind immediately pictures Nancy. Her daughter was born with several congenital birth defects. Though bound to a wheelchair her entire life, she was the sweetest little girl you would ever meet. Before she passed away at fifteen, she had over a hundred surgeries, many of them involving her brain. When doctors thought there was nothing more they could do to help this little girl, Nancy would not rest. She kept advocating for her daughter, pleading with the doctors to do more. She wanted her little girl to enjoy the best quality of life possible. Time after time, at Nancy’s prompting, the doctors came up with another procedure to improve her daughter’s condition.
Just because we receive Jesus and become a Christ-follower doesn’t mean that we don’t sin anymore. Sure, we have a whole new attitude toward God and sin, but our old nature is still present. In fact, probably more than ever, we are aware of how far short we come in our obedience. Though God doesn’t want us to sin anymore, He has made provision for such a scenario. Jesus immediately stands as our Advocate before the Father.
What do you think Jesus says when He speaks to the Father in our defense, as our Advocate? Think He says, “You know, Father, boys will be boys.” or “The temptation was just too strong for him.”? No, Jesus never makes excuses for our sin. As our Advocate, He intercedes for us, standing at the “intersection” between God’s love and justice. He admits that we’ve sinned, but that by faith we have come under the protection of His blood, the final and full payment for that sin.
Makes me think of Romans 8:33-34, “Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.” There is nothing in all the universe that can separate us from God’s love when Jesus is our Advocate!
How about you? Jesus wants to stand with you and plead your case before God, but He waits for you to ask Him. Or have you decided to stand on your own merits, defenseless before the Judge of all the universe?