In yesterday’s reading, we asked some questions about the role of Jesus as our Advocate. Today we will ask a few more questions designed to help us appreciate further what this role of Jesus means for him and for us.
What are the qualifications Jesus possesses as our Advocate? We know well that an earthly advocate is a highly qualified person who has spent years studying and preparing for his role. Yet we also know that an advocate may be guilty of sins himself. With Jesus, his character is part of his qualifications because he is described as ‘Jesus Christ the righteous’. This is a reference to his holy, perfect life that he lived on earth when he obeyed from the heart all the commandments of God.
A second area of qualification is found in another name of Jesus when Isaiah calls him the wonderful counsellor (Isa. 9:6), a description that basically means that he always knows the right thing to say, whether it is giving advice or in defending from accusation. And covering his righteous character and his counselling abilities is his great love for his clients, a love that began long before they had even asked for his help.
How much does Jesus the advocate charge for his services? In Britain, as far as I know, an advocate is the most expensive of lawyers. What price does Jesus demand for representing his clients? The answer is that he does it for free.
What is the basis of his plea on behalf of his clients? An advocate in our courtrooms, when he senses that the case for his client is bad, will look for mitigating circumstances in order to try and reduce the sentence. A whole range of possible aspects will be mentioned as he tries to obtain a sympathetic or lenient sentence for his client. Jesus does not present any mitigating factors: he does not base his argument on our regret for past errors or on our good intentions for the future. Instead, unlike any earthly advocate, Jesus Christ on the throne of God directs his Father’s attention to the wounds that mark his body. Those wounds are the permanent reminder in the heavenly courtroom that the price of sin has been paid. Unlike earthly advocates, Jesus does not have to make a speech urging clemency. In reality, he does not have to say anything because his wounds speak very loudly.
What is the outcome of Jesus’ advocacy? The answer to this question is firstly to note that he is 100% successful; he has never failed to obtain what his clients need from the heavenly Judge. He has taken in hand millions of clients and represented each of them on an incalculable number of occasions, and on each single occasion he has succeeded.
The goal that Jesus looks for is that his guilty clients will be forgiven their sins by the Judge. As the Judge looks at the wounds of the Advocate he says about the accused: ‘The price of their sins has been paid. Therefore, they must be forgiven. I’m delighted to see that they are sorry for their sins, but their sorrow is not the basis of my judgement. Instead I forgive them because their Advocate has paid on the cross the penalty due to their awful sins.’