"My dear children, I write this to you
so that you will not sin.
But if anybody does sin,
we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense
-- Jesus Christ the Righteous One."
1 John 2:1
In Luke 22:31-32 Jesus said Peter:
Satan has asked to sift you as wheat.
But I have prayed for you, Simon,
that your faith may not fail.
And when you have turned back,
strengthen your brothers."
In 1st John, John tells us: Don't sin!... BUT IF YOU DO, he says, we've got someOne who goes and speaks to our Father for us IN OUR DEFENSE.
The King James says it this way, "if any man sin, we have an advocate"!!!
Woe! Is that incredible or what? I work with inmates. Trust me, they know what it means to need and to have an advocate speaking for them! Someone speaking to defend them. Someone standing up and battling in their defence.
The original word for advocate in the Greek means that someone has been:
- called to one's side,
- especially called to one's aid,
- one who pleads another's cause before a judge,
- a pleader,
- a counsel for defense,
- a legal assistant,
- an advocate,
- an intercessor...,
- of Christ in His exaltation at God's right hand, pleading with God the Father for the pardon of our sins;
- in the widest sense: a helper, an aider, an assistant."
Wow! We don't just have 'someone' that's summoned and called to our sides to aid us and to plead our causes before a judge and a counsel to defend us.......
We don't have just a meager man called as our legal assistant that advocates and intercedes for us......
But we have THE CHRIST, THE SON OF GOD Who has been exalted to sit at our Father God's right side Who is pleading for our PARDON after we've sinned!
He is our Helper, He is our Aider, He is our Assistant.......... and also our Savior!.. the One Who died to SAVE US, RANSOM us, REDEEM and RESTORE us so that He can use us to display His Glory through us!
And though it's for us, it's not just about us alone, it's for His Name's Sake, and for His Kingdom's Sake, and for the sake of saving other souls!
I was thinking about Jesus being our Defender, the One Who works in our defense, and it stretched past Him just defending us in the courtroom (though, woe, we need Him there!). My son plays football (you may have too) and he plays Defense. His job (as you know) is to stand in the way of the guys on the opposing team to keep them from knocking our man down that carries the ball so that he can reach the goal. We have an enemy with a whole host of players on his team doing their dead level best at any rate and at any cost and with wretched evilness trying to knock the guy running with the ball down in hopes of taking the ball from his hands leaving him crumbled on the ground hurt and defeated. But we have One who plays on DEFENSE with us and for us..... and He's not just on our team.... it's HIS team that we're playing for! And He doesn't take too kindly to the ones that knock His players down! Especially when the ball they're holding is His ball.. given to His player.. to make it to His goal... to score points for His win! He wants us to win! We're all given different balls to carry... different stories... different circumstances... different callings... different testimonies...... different talents... different gifts.. and we (each one of us) has got to hold on tightly to the ball we've been given and press on like crazy "to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me..... forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead... pressing on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called us heavenward in Christ Jesus" (Phil 3:12-14).
We may get knocked down many times while on the field (Whoever said it was going to be easy? We're in a WAR!), but we must get up again!
I love what Micah 7:7-9 says, "But as for me, I watch IN HOPE for the Lord, I WAIT for my God my Savior; my God WILL HEAR me. Do not gloat over me, my enemy! Though I have fallen, I WILL GET UP(!), though I sit in darkness, the Lord WILL BE my light. Because I have sinned against Him, I will bear the Lord's wrath, UNTIL He PLEADS MY CASE and establishes my right, HE WILL BRING ME OUT into the light; I WILL SEE His righteousness!"
We have The Ultimate One defending our case!!! HE WILL PLEAD our case... HE WILL bring us into the light... WE WILL see His righteousness if we stay on our knees and keep our faces before Him and believe Him to do so.
And again, the verse I wrote above when Jesus tells Peter: "Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers."
I love that Jesus warns Peter than he's about to go through some sifting.... I love even more that He tells him: BUT I'VE PRAYED FOR YOU!
Can you even imagine seeing Him and hearing His prayers for you? Jesus still prays for His children!... only now He sits by the Father and looks in His face while He's doing so. Wonder what He says? He prayed for Peter. He prays for me! He prays for you!!!........... that our faith may not fail in our sifting..... while we're carrying our ball... and we run toward the goal marked before us... to win the prize of the heavenly calling that we were called for! And when we're done with this season of sifting, Jesus says, Go, and strengthen your brothers!!!! It's then that He uses our sifting season to strengthen someone else!!! How I love Him for doing so!
The 124th chapther of Scripture in Psalms quoted below seems to go quite nicely with the Scriptures just read:
"If the Lord had not been on our side...
if the Lord had not been on our side
when men attacked us,
when their anger flared against us,
they would have swallowed us alive;
the flood would have engulfed us,
the torrent would have swept over us,
the raging waters would have swept us away.
Praise be to the Lord,
Who has not let us be torn by their teeth.
We have escaped the fowler's snare;
the snare has been broken,
and we have escaped.
Our help is in the name of the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth."
May you be blessed in knowing the One Who watches over you and loves you so! Be of courage, He is with and for you... and you can trust Him in knowing that! Surely I hope.. that you've chosen to play on His team. Keep your eyes on the goal... for you have a Defender Who works for you to win and bring victory to you in the end!