Advocate-is one that pleads the cause of another In a very particular manner, the Scripture applies this to the Lord Jesus Christ. Indeed, it is so peculiarly and personally his, that it expressly forms one of his divine offices. Hence, the apostle saith, "If any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous, and he is the propitiation for our sins." (1 John ii. 1, 2)
It is very blessed to see the personal and peculiar fitness and suitability of the Lord Jesus Christ to this office, and in how endeared and affectionate a manner he is thereby recommended, and comes home with all the warmth of tenderness to our hearts. I persuade myself that I shall have the reader's pardon and indulgence, if I trespass for a moment, on dwelling a little more particularly, than the merely noticing it, on this sweet feature in the portrait of Our Lord.
That our poor nature, universally speaking, stands in need of an advocate, is unnecessary to insist, upon, for "we have all sinned and come short of God's glory." And therefore, he who undertakes to plead the cause of the sinner, must himself be sinless. And he must not only possess sufficient abilities to the office of a special pleader, but, he must know every person, and every case, with all the disadvantages of all the causes for which he undertakes. Neither is it sufficient, that he hath all these qualifications, and more than these, unless that he be lawfully constituted to the office. It is not enough, in our common courts of justice, between man and man, that many an able and a feeling heart could stand up for poor guilty criminals, and plead their cause. He that advocates for them, must have a legal call to the office, and be sworn into it, according to the laws of the court. It is most blessed, therefore, to see that in the person of our Lord Jesus Christ all these different qualifications meet and center, and shine forth in one full constellation.
An attention to a few leading particulars, will make this appear abundantly plain and obvious to every beholder. The Redeemer's claim to this office of an advocate, and the only advocate of our poor nature, is founded on the call of JEHOVAH. We are told by God the Holy Ghost, (Heb. 5:5,6) that Christ "glorified not himself to be made an High Priest, but was called of God, as was Aaron." And he was not only called to the office, but sworn into it, by the solemnity of an oath.-"The Lord sware, and will not repent; thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek." So then, it appears beyond all question and dispute, that JEHOVAH, who said unto him, "Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee;" said also, "Thou art a priest for ever;" and confirmed it by his oath. I beg the reader to keep the remembrance of this everlastingly in view. Your Jesus, your advocate with the Father, is your sworn advocate, and by JEHOVAH himself. And as by reason of the sin of our nature, God our Father is the law adversary of every poor sinner; (see Matt. 5:25) so Christ is our law advocate, and fully and legally appointed to this office, by JEHOVAH himself. Sweet thought!
But we must not stop here, in examining into the right of Christ, for the exercise of this divine office, the advocate of his people. He is no less so, by virtue of his being the propitiation for our sins; and in a double sense in this particular, because, not only the infinite dignity of his person and the infinite merit of his propitiation gives him this claim, but also he is the very propitiation which God "himself hath set forth, through faith in his blood." Let the reader consult those Scriptures for himself, which prove the certainty of these precious truths, and he will see how unanswerably conclusive they are. (Job 33:24; Isa. 42:21; Matt. 17:5; Rom. 3:25) Now, then, let me pause, and ask, Hath not this almighty advocate a right to plead for his own rights, and those of his people in him? Was it not an absolute promise, in the charter of grace, that "when he had made his soul an offering for sin, he should see of the travail of his soul, and be satisfied?" (Isa. 53:10,11) And shall not the blessed Jesus stand up and plead for the fulfillment of those promises? Hath he, indeed, given himself as the sinner's surety "an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling savour?" and can he rest satisfied, till he hath brought all his ransomed people around him in glory?
Moreover, there is one point more to be considered in this subject of Christ's advocacy, which we have not yet even glanced at, though it forms a principal object, for which the Lord Jesus carries on his high priestly office, in the court of heaven, namely, the destruction of all his enemies, and the enemies of his dear people. When the Lord Jesus, by the Spirit of prophecy, spake of the purposes of his coming, it was for the overthrow of the empire of Satan, as well as the establishment of his own kingdom. "The day of vengeance (said Jesus) is in my heart, and the year of my redeemed is come." (Isa. 63:4) So, then, it must follow, that unless we can suppose what is impossible, that when Jesus returned to heaven he ceased to take concern in the exercises and sorrows and temptations of his redeemed upon earth, and that the triumphs of the powers of darkness engaged not the attention of the Lord to destroy: surely he is now, as much as ever, carrying on, by his everlasting intercession, all the grand purposes of his victory over hell, until he come, in the fullness of the times appointed, finally to crush the foe, and to root out of his kingdom "all things that offend." I must not stay to describe what the Scriptures of God so very largely and blessedly set forth, the numberless qualities of the Lord Jesus, in his abilities, and readiness, and grace, and a thousand endearing things beside, which render him so peculiarly suited to the office. The prophet sums up all in one, his character, in this department of it, when calling him the Wonderful Counsellor; and the Apostle no less, when declaring that "in Him are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge." (Isa. 9:6; Coloss. 2:3) And if it were not for swelling the pages of a work that I must rather study to abridge, I might easily show, that such are the powerful recommendations the Lord Jesus brings with him, to induce any, and every poor sinner, that is conscious of the want of an advocate, to plead his cause before God, that not a soul, earnest for his everlasting welfare, would cease a moment from putting all his concerns in the hand of such a wise, tender, and successful High Priest as Jesus. Indeed, indeed, it is most blessed to behold the Lord Jesus in this endeared character. All he undertakes is altogether free, "without money and without price." No case of his people, however desperate, he refuseth; and none that he undertakes can fail. Other advocates may, and indeed must, ultimately bring forth disappointment, but no cause put into the hands of Jesus can. And the gracious manner in which the Lord carries it on, is most blessed; for he makes every case which he takes up his own. He enters into all their concerns, gives them to see how much he sympathizes with them, during their exercises, and supports their souls with an abiding assurance, that he is everlastingly attentive to them. Not all the hallelujahs of heaven can make him for a moment intermit his overlooking either the persons, or the causes, of all his redeemed upon earth. For it is not their deservings, but his love; not what they have done, or can do for themselves, but what he can do for them, that becomes the standard of his grace. What they are, and what they merit, comes not into the amount. That they are his, and that he hath purchased their redemption, and received them as the gift of his Father; these are the motives which operate in the heart of Christ. He saith himself, in his pleadings for them before the throne, (for the words are already given to us) "Father, I will that they whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory which thou hast given me." (John 17:24)
Ye sinners in Zion ! Here bring all your causes. Come to Jesus and put every concern in his almighty hand. Jesus waits to be gracious. He can, and will save to the uttermost, all that come to God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them. (Heb. 7:25) Hail! thou glorious, gracious, lawful, and successful Advocate of my poor, soul!