The Advocates

This week we are discussing the Holy Spirit as our Counselor.

A lawyer friend told me this story from early in his career. (As an aside, his lawyer stories are more interesting than my engineer stories.) He was representing a nice, churchgoing woman who contracted food poisoning after eating at a national food chain. He and his client were not trying to be punitive; they were simply seeking to have the company pay her medical bill, and it wasn’t even a huge bill. My friend thought it was a straightforward case.

However, the restaurant chain did not take such claims lightly, and the defense flew in a very serious and qualified health expert to testify. This expert claimed that based on the timeline, my friend’s client could not have contracted food poisoning from their restaurant and must have gotten sick from a different meal. As my friend cross-examined the expert witness, he had an awkward realization right there on the spot:

His client indeed could not have contracted food poisoning from the meal in question!

Although he rightly lost the case, my friend had attempted to represent the interests of his client. And the health expert for sure represented the restaurant’s interests. We can all use an advocate.

And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever - the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. (John 14:16-17 NIV)

Three things jump out at me from these verses. First, Jesus said He would ask the Father to send us an advocate (the Holy Spirit). I assume it didn’t take Jesus long after walking and talking with us to figure out we would need more help once He physically left.

Second, Jesus said “another” advocate, which makes sense, as Jesus was clearly one Himself, representing our interests to the extreme of even taking our deserved punishment.

Finally, Jesus said the world cannot accept the Holy Spirit because it cannot know Him. If the world cannot accept the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit dwells in us, we should not expect the world to accept us either. Sometimes I think we Christians waste a lot of energy trying to force the world to fully accept us, but Jesus already told us it simply cannot.

We don’t need to fret about defending ourselves. We already have the only Advocate we need.

By Mark Stuart

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