A seldom used but important word is the word “advocate.” Translated from the Greek word parakletos, its essential meaning is “called to one’s side” or “intercessor.” An advocate is one who pleads another’s case, usually before a court of law. It can also mean one who sympathizes with us in times of trouble as a counselor or comforter.

This word occurs only five times in the New Testament. Jesus himself used it to teach about the Holy Spirit in John’s Gospel. Jesus said that the Holy Spirit–the “Helper”is constant, and abides with us forever (John 14:16). The Holy Spirit teaches Jesus’ disciples and helps them to remember all that Jesus instructed them (John 14:26). He truthfully testifies of Jesus Christ (John 15:26). He is the One who would aid the disciples after Jesus was taken back into Heaven (John 16:7). The Holy Spirit’s role is to assist and transform believers in ways they are unable to do themselves, and He serves to advocate the cause of Christ on earth. He resides within the Christian and builds us up in Christ.

John, in his first epistle, uses “advocate” to refer to Jesus (1 John 2:1). John describes Jesus’ present ministry as that of interceding before the Father on the believer’s behalf when the Christian sins. Christians ought not to make a habit of sinning, but when we do sin–Jesus is our Intercessor and Attorney representing us in Heaven. Satan tries to accuse Christians–as he accused Job–of our hopelessness, and attempts to call into question the validity of our conversion. He tries to keep us from confession and communion with God. But Jesus, who is always in the presence of the Father, defends the believer as one whose sins are “paid in full” and whose position in Christ is not in question. We have the right to “come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).

What a comfort it is to realize we are not alone in the business of living for Christ, and to understand that Christ and the Holy Spirit are actively intervening and interceding in our behalf.

Craig Alan Myers
March/April 2000