Day 7: Jesus is the Advocate
Yesu ni Wakili – Msaidizi – Mtetezi (Kiswahili)
My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. – 1 John 2:1
Before we begin to reflect on Jesus, our advocate, who went far above and beyond by paying the penalty for our sins, let’s offer up this prayer:
Oh Lord our God, we thank you for the Advent season. We pray that during this period of devout and joyful expectation, we will be reminded that Christ is our advocate (Wakili – Msaidizi – Mtetezi). Help us today to appreciate what it means to have Jesus serving as an advocate (Wakili – Msaidizi – Mtetezi). May we hold this truth, live in this truth, and know this truth. Help us, Lord, to experience joy as we demonstrate steadfast faith. Protect us from faith that wavers. May we always remember that there is no guilt or condemnation for those who are in Christ. In the name of our Christ, Amen.
And if a hymn is what your heart desires, I commend “Jesus, My Advocate” by Charles Wesley (1707–1788).
Jesus, my advocate above,
My friend before the throne of love,
If now for me prevails Thy prayer,
If now I find Thee pleading there,
If Thou the secret wish convey,
And sweetly prompt my heart to pray;
Hear, and my weak petitions join,
Almighty advocate, to Thine…
In 1 John 2:1, the Apostle John reminds us of who Jesus Christ is. John is telling us that the Lord Jesus Christ is our advocate. He is our friend in court, mediator, defence attorney. When we sin, Satan makes the accusation. And the accusation is true. So, we end up standing there guilty before God. When that happens, we need help. We need somebody to take our side. We need somebody to take up our defence. Jesus is supremely and perfectly qualified to serve as our advocate before the Father. His duty is to plead the cause of the sinning Christian before God the Father (Romans 8:34; Hebrews 7:25; 9:24). In this Advent season, we are invited to renew our trust in our advocate and to be assured that, if we sin, we not only have an advocate but also a sacrifice for our sins. Our advocate is the perfect propitiation for our sins and will keep us until the end.
For believers in our Tanzanian/African context, an advocate stands in for one major purpose: to address the gap well explained as an inability of people to defend themselves. Why? In most cases, and given the difficult situations one might be facing in the context of poverty and diseases, someone becomes helpless and cannot act effectively anymore.
Whatever our context, how can our hearts respond? Perhaps before anything, we can seek a quiet moment to allow our hearts to connect with the heart of our intercessor and advocate before the Father, Jesus Christ (the righteous). May we look at Christ and remember:
- We have His help after we have sinned.
- As Christians, there are going to be times when we stumble and fall, when we step back into sin.
- But when we do, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.
- He is the perfect advocate (Acts 3:14; 7:52).
- He has effectively removed the wrath of God and cleansed all who believe in his name (1 John 2:2, 12; 3:5; 4:10).
I encourage you to linger over another great hymn, “Before the Throne of God Above” by Charitie Lees Smith (1841–1923).
Before the throne of God above
I have a strong and perfect plea,
A great High Priest whose name is Love,
Whoever lives and pleads for me.
My name is graven on his hands,
My name is written on his heart;
I know that while in heav’n he stands
No tongue can bid me thence depart,
No tongue can bid me thence depart.
As you prepare your heart for this Advent season, may you find joy and unity with your sisters and brothers across Africa by reciting the words of Grace in Kiswahili: Say the words of Grace in Kiswahili –
Neema ya Bwana wetu Yesu Kristo,
na upendo wa Mungu Baba
na Ushirika wa Roho Mtakatifu
vikae nasi sote
Rev. Canon Dr Alfred Sebahene lives in Dodoma, Tanzania. He is a Langham Scholar who received his PhD at Cape Town University with support from Langham. He serves as the head of the Department of Theology and Religious Studies at St. John’s University of Tanzania, is a minister in the Anglican Church of Tanzania, and is a frequent lecturer on anti-corruption and ethics.