When we want information, most of us turn to Google or perhaps another search engine. How did we live before the Internet? Does anyone even have a set of encyclopedias anymore? If you do, it was out of date before it was printed. I often do searches before writing or speaking but it certainly is buyer beware out there in information – or should I say misinformation – land.
Case in point – if you want to know more about why and how Jesus is our intercessor, you will find articles and sermons that will lead you to believe this kind of conversation is taking place between God the Father and Jesus:
Father: Look at her, she did it again. She knows better. Guess it’s time to lower the boom.
Jesus: Aww dad, you know she’s trying. Please don’t forget she received forgiveness when I went to the cross, so don’t hold it against her. And I’m helping her, I really am. Give her another chance.
Father: OK, you’re right. I’ll hold off for now. But get her in line, and the sooner the better!
The typical explanation is that while we were forgiven at the cross, we still need Jesus to stand up for us as we continue to sin and to remind God not to get angry. He intercedes, or pleads our case, just like a lawyer going before a not-too-happy judge. But is this really what it means when we say Jesus is interceding for us?
Mixed in with the above scenario, I found this on gotquestions.org: “Advocates offer support, strength, and counsel and intercede for us when necessary. The Bible says that Jesus is an Advocate for those who’ve put their trust in Him: ‘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). In other verses, Jesus calls the Holy Spirit our Advocate (John 14:16, 26; 15:26; 16:7). The English word advocate has been translated from the Greek word parakletos, which means ‘helper, adviser, or counselor.’”
This makes much more sense in light of who God is and the finished work of the cross. The advocate we have in Jesus is not trying to talk the Father out of punishing us every time we sin, but is there to help us, give us advice and counsel us in the way of his kingdom of love. God knows we’ll sin again and again – that’s who we are – but he only wants what’s best for us and is there to help us finish the race Paul talked about, with the strength, courage and grace we have in Christ.
Perhaps this is how the conversation goes:
Father: Look at my beloved daughter. She’s doing so well, but she’s having trouble with that issue again.
Jesus: Holy Spirit and I are with her every step of the way, encouraging and strengthening her.
Father: Keep it up. You know how much I love her.
Jesus: Me too, Abba, me too.