Jesus is called the “advocate.” 1 John 2:1 says, “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.” The Bible Knowledge Commentary (BKC) adds this comment, “The thought here in 1 John 2:1 is of a defense attorney who takes up the case of his client before a tribunal.” The Greek word, Paraclete, is usually referring to the Holy Spirit who takes up our cause and “comforts” us in all of our trials. But the Apostle John says clearly that Jesus is our “Advocate.” It seems that the Holy Spirit is our “advocate” here on earth while Jesus is our advocate in Heaven before the Father. I think the distinction between our advocate in this life and our advocate in Heaven is clear. When Jesus prepares his disciples for his departure he promises to send them “another” advocate. Of course, this additional advocate is the Holy Spirit. Jesus made this promise in John 14:16, “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, in order that he may be with you…” Then another biblical author teaches us like John did that Jesus is in Heaven making intercession for us. Hebrews 9:24 says, “For Christ has entered, not into holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true things, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf.”

If I were arrested for any crime I’d really like to have one of the best lawyers to defend me whether I was guilty or not. In American today, Alan Morton Dershowitz is probably the best known if not the best lawyer in our country. The web search on him describes him as “… an American attorney, political commentator, and jurist. He has spent the past fifty years practicing the law and is well recognized for handling a number of high-profile legal cases. As a criminal appellate attorney, Alan has won fifteen, which is a high percentage of the dozens of attempted murder and murder cases he has managed. The attorney has represented several celebrities, which include Jim Bakker, Mike Tyson, and Patty Hearst. His most prominent cases include his role as an appellate consultant in the O.J. Simpson case, and for overturning the conviction of Claus von Bulow in 1984. In addition to his consulting and appellate practice, Alan is a Professor at Harvard Law School. In 1967, at the age of twenty eight, he became the youngest full professor of law in its history. Since 1993, Alan has held the Felix Frankfurter professorship at Harvard.” But even Dershowitz has no argument that could sway God in the least. Any argument he could produce to substantiate the claim of my innocence of all sin in life would be ludicrous at best.

But Jesus doesn’t defend or advocate on our behalf because we’re innocent. He advocates on our behalf because we are guilty and He’s righteous. This is why John adds the final description of Jesus in 1 John 2:1 that our advocate is Jesus Christ “The Righteous One.” The United Bible Societies handbook for translators explains, “The adjective righteous is best taken as a predicate, adding a new trait to the argument. It serves to make the reader aware of the fact that Jesus, since he does what is right before God, is man’s most effective advocate with God. His prayers for man are not hindered by sin and, therefore, will certainly be heard by God.” Kruse in the Pillar New Testament Commentary explains the significance of this. He writes, “Thus it (The adjective “righteous”) would seem that it is used in the present context to indicate that it is the One who has acted righteously, who now stands in the presence of the Father to speak on behalf of those who have not acted righteously. However, Jesus Christ is much more than an advocate who intercedes for those who have sinned, as becomes apparent in the next verse.” 1 John 2:2 says, “he is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.” Again, Kruse explains, “The author emphasises that Jesus Christ is not only our advocate who speaks in our favour in the presence of God despite our sins, but that he is also the atoning sacrifice for those sins. In the first case he appears as an advocate in court, in the second as a sacrificing priest in the temple.”