The story has been told of a soldier in the Union army, a young man who had lost his older brother and his father in the war. He went to Washington, D.C., to see President Lincoln to ask for an exemption from military service so he could go back and help his sister and mother with the spring planting on the farm. When he arrived in Washington, after having received a furlough from the military to go and plead his case, he went to the White House, approached the doors, and asked to see the president.
However, he was told, “You can’t see the president! Don’t you know there’s a war on? The president’s a very busy man. Now go away, son! Get back out there and fight the Rebs like you’re supposed to.” So he left, very disheartened, and was sitting on a little park bench not far from the White House when a little boy came up to him.
The lad said, “Soldier, you look unhappy. What’s wrong?” The soldier looked at this young boy and began to spill his heart out to this young lad about his situation, about his father and his brother having died in the war, and how he was the only male left in the family and was needed desperately back at the farm for the Spring planting.
The little boy took the soldier by the hand and led him around to the back of the White House. They went through the back door, past the guards, past all the generals and the high-ranking government officials until they got to the president’s office itself. The little boy didn’t even knock on the door but just opened it and walked in. There was President Lincoln with his secretary of state, looking over battle plans on the desk. President Lincoln looked up and said, “What can I do for you, Todd?” And Todd said, “Daddy, this soldier needs to talk to you.” And right then and there the soldier had a chance to plead his case to President Lincoln, and he was exempted from military service due to the hardship he was under.
The Bible defines an advocate as one that is “a helper, adviser or counselor.” Just as the younger Lincoln brought the soldier before his father to plead his case, you and I are promised in God’s Word of the Son who advocates before His Father on our behalf.
The Bible tells us that Jesus is an advocate for those who’ve put their trust in Him. We read, “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). We also read from John that the Holy Spirit is referred to by Jesus as our Advocate (see John 14:16, 26; 15:26; 16:7).
Although an earthly advocate can only plead our case from external evidence or witness testimony, our heavenly advocate is able to do so much more. He knows our hearts and pleads our case on the basis of what is there (see Luke 5:22 and Mark 2:8). He also knows the intricacies of God’s legal system, and has already satisfied the demands of justice, so His advocacy is from a position of strength and righteousness.
This week, consider the great lengths that Christ has went to in order to serve not only as our Savior, but as our counselor, helper and advisor.