What Does it Mean That Jesus Is Our Advocate?

In the Bible, the High Priest was essentially the ultimate lawyer, a spiritual lawyer, before God the Father. Christ has been called to stand at our side. It is part of His calling. It is part of His character. There is no other God like this!

April Motl
Lady Justice

“Even now, behold, my witness is in heaven, and my advocate is on high” (Job 16:19).

An advocate is someone who pleads another’s cause, who helps another by defending or comforting him. Scripture assures us that this is one of Christ’s roles in our life.

Three times this word is used to describe how the Holy Spirit works in our lives and the Greek in those instances is translated as “Comforter” (John 14:16; 15:26; John 14:16). When the word describes Jesus, the word is translated “Advocate” (1 John 2:1, Easton’s Bible Dictionary).

Within the context of each of these verses, we see a depth of meaning unfold; our Lord comes alongside us as a comforter and defender.

In another New Testament instance, the same Greek word (parakletos), is used to describe a Roman advocate (or lawyer) whom the Jews employed to accuse Paul before Felix. So, outside a spiritual context, the word functions as a person who performs tasks as a lawyer.

What Is an Advocate?

The word advocate is referred most often to those involved in the law, but we see the same principle apply to Jesus as our High Priest as well:

Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need (Hebrews 4:14-16).

The High Priest was in charge of making the special sacrifice on the Day of Atonement. To a Jew, the High Priest was essentially the ultimate lawyer, a spiritual lawyer, before God the Father.

Jesus stands at our side, having paid our spiritual debt for all our sins, and then remains there beside us, claiming us as His own, defending us, sympathizing with our struggles, lifting us up when we are weak.

The word παράκλητος paraklētos comes from a compound word meaning “called to one’s aid”

(Strong’s Bible Dictionary).

Whether we are in need of a lawyer or an encourager, Christ is called to our aid. Your aid. My aid. What a thought!

We all have a great many callings in life; we are daughters and sons, husbands and wives, mothers, and fathers. We have occupations. We have spiritual tasks before us from the momentary appointments that unfold before us in mundane happenings like a conversation in the grocery store line that turns into a moment of eternal significance to more long-term assignments like being a Sunday school teacher or on the worship team.

Yet, Christ has been called to stand at our side. It is part of His calling. It is part of His character. There is no other God like this!

For from days of old they have not heard or perceived by ear, Nor has the eye seen a God besides You, Who acts on behalf of the one who waits for Him (Isaiah 64:4).

How Jesus Fulfills This?

You have access to Jesus as your advocate because He has been called alongside you. There is no other god like ours who comes to the aid of His people. And while we have that great confidence, there is some personal involvement we ought to consider.

My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world.

By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments. 

The one who says, “I have come to know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him; but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him: the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked (1 John 2:1-7, NASB).

While Christ is called alongside us, that doesn’t mean He is moved out of His holiness. He walks with us, comes to rescue us, but He doesn’t partake in sinful activities with us. The Holy Spirit also calls us to come along to His side, away from the things of self and this world.

How might your journey with God grow from letting go of old habits or adding new ones? Example: Take inventory of the stuff you allow to feed your mind (social media, shows, music, conversations with friends) to see how you are aligning your thoughts with Scripture/things of the Lord versus how you align your thoughts with the things of this world.

If you allow the things of this world to fill your thoughts more than Scripture, you are missing some of the power God would pour out on you because you aren’t walking closely with Him, you aren’t living in full agreement with Him. What you set on the throne of your heart has the greatest influence.

If we set self or the world on that throne, God isn’t ruling our hearts. For us to have the benefit of full access to Him, we need to always be checking who or what we’ve given that heart throne to. How much richer His comfort and aid could be in our lives if we set about wholeheartedly investing in “keeping” (which means storing up and guarding) His Word and His ways.

How Is Jesus an Advocate for Us?

We have forgiveness through Christ for the times when we sin. Yet, continuing in sinful patterns means we aren’t keeping the Word and aren’t abiding in Christ. The best way to have access to the help and power of Christ is to abide with Him.

As we make choices throughout our day, we come along in step with Him or walk away from Him. Jesus is indeed our advocate, yet we participate in how closely we engage with our Encourager and Defender.

I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you. “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. After a little while the world will no longer see Me, but you will see Me; because I live, you will live also. In that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you. He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him” (John 14:16-21).

We have the Helper and Advocate. May we press more deeply into His grace to keep His commandments and love always flowing out of our lives.

Photo Credit: ©iStock/Getty Images Plus/utah778


Originally published July 28, 2020.