1. One that argues for a cause; a supporter or defender
2. One that pleads in another’s behalf; an intercessor
3. A lawyer.
Many years ago, on a long and lonely highway in North Carolina outside of Charlotte, I had an unfortunate meeting with a county sheriff. You see, the audio book I was listening to was so good that I forgot to pay attention to that little needle on my speedometer that tells you how fast your vehicle is going. The sheriff didn’t forget to pay attention. In fact, all of his attention was on me! (And my shiny black Pontiac Fiero) After a very cordial but brief conversation with the nice policeman, I was given a sheet of paper with his autograph and told that I would have to appear in court in about one and a half months – in a little town four hours away from my home.
When I finally returned home, I debated on what to do. I could just plead guilty, pay the hefty fine – all through the mail or I could hire a local lawyer to go to trial in my place and plead my case. Since I was in North Carolina, I knew that southern justice worked a little differently than it does anywhere else. I knew that most of the lawyers knew the judges and that with a wink and a nod (and selecting the same lawyer the sheriff’s office recommended), I could possibly get off with a lesser punishment. In fact, the lawyers fees plus the fine for “defective equipment” (my speedometer didn’t work properly) was less than if I had just paid the speeding fine. The big bonus was that that little incident didn’t end up on my insurance record.
That was one of the few times I have ever had to use a lawyer. He was my advocate in this case. Because he could stand up for me in court, I didn’t have to make the long trip again. As nice as he was, I hope to never have to use his services again!
We also have an advocate in our daily lives. In John 14:16-17, Jesus says, “And I will ask the Father and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever – The Sprit of Truth [Holy Spirit].” The Greek that has been translated here as counselor is the word “Paraclete“. Paraclete comes from the Greek word meaning “one who consoles” or “one who intercedes on our behalf”. Some versions translate this as advocate. Some might ask, “if we are Christians and can talk to God directly, then why do we need an advocate? Can’t we just ask for forgiveness ourselves?” In 1 John 2:1, we read that the one who will speak to the Father in our defense is Jesus the Righteous One [or Holy Spirit as our other counselor]. In God’s court, the defender must be, and is, sinless.
I’m glad my advocate knows the judge!