Advocate

A judges gavel resting on a soung block behind a sign saying "Advocate Services,"

40 Names of Jesus in 40 days of Lent — Day 3

My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.

1 John 2:1 ESVUK.

Obviously I didn’t know my Bible well enough. I have been taught from the time I became a Christian that the comforter or helper is the Holy Spirit, the paraclete. There is a long tradition of the Greek work paraclete being used for the Holy Spirit going way back into ancient iconography. What Jesus said in John 14:16 was that he would send another helper, if you read the ESV, but to have another, there has to be at least one already. Jesus was talking about himself as being the first paraclete, with the Holy Spirit being sent as another, like him.

The word paraclete is translated in different ways in the English translations of the Bible. In John 14 Jesus says we are going to get another helper, some translations say comforter, so when 1 John 2 talks about Jesus being our advocate we can be forgiven for not realising they are the same thing. But they are, and a paraclete is someone who pleads the cause of another, we can use advocate in either passage, The Holy Spirit works inwardly on our behalf and Jesus is our advocate in heaven. That is both an advocate in the sense of a legal representitive and in the sence of self-advocacy and empowerment.

Empowerment is the operative word here. Jesus is not advocating in the sense of standing up for us in the face of a God who wishes to punish. If I know anything about what Jesus taught about the Father it is that he is benevolent. The Father has no wish to punish us but wants to forgive us. Jesus at the right hand of God and the Holy Spirit within us empowers us to live for God. To be the person we are meant to be. Even when we mess up, which we always do.

We make a mess of things all the time, somtimes by accident, sometimes through circumstances and sometimes deliberately, but God became human in Jesus and understands our humanity. Being human like this does not cut us off from God’s love.

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