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Devotional: Christ, Our Advocate

Christ Our Advocate Devo Pic

 

One of the things I remember most about my pregnancy with Wesley was the time I spent in the hospital leading up to his birth. Some of you might know this, but I was diagnosed with pre-eclampsia and was induced at around thirty-seven weeks. Even though I tried very hard to hold loosely to any notion that my pregnancy would go as I had planned, hearing that I would have to be induced and spend several days in the hospital leading up to and after giving birth was tough. My mindset immediately changed knowing the day that I was going to the hospital to have my baby. In the days leading up to our induction, I was a wreck. I slept very little and spent a lot of time worrying over what was going to happen. One of the things I remember fearing most was that Josh would not be allowed to stay with me while I was in the hospital and/or during labor. Because of the restrictions most hospitals had in place during COVID, I knew of a few women who had given birth without the presence of their significant other. I was terrified that I would have to do this alone and was overwhelmingly relieved when they told me that Josh could stay with me the whole time. I remember hearing multiple people tell me how great it would be to have Josh there to advocate for me. I had no idea how much I would come to value this in the days to come.

I went to the hospital on a Monday afternoon and was started on medication to induce labor. It was a slow process and Wesley wasn’t born until Wednesday morning. Throughout the day and a half we waited for his arrival, I was in different stages of labor. I had very little sleep prior to coming to the hospital and once I was there, sleep seemed nearly impossible. I was connected to multiple monitors as the staff was closely watching me and Wesley to ensure that there were no complications because of my pre-eclampsia. This made it difficult to even do simple things, like go to the bathroom. I was on a limited diet and couldn’t eat or drink much at all. In addition to being exhausted and uncomfortable (and eventually, in pain), I remember feeling more vulnerable than I had ever felt before. I was at the mercy of the nurses, doctors, and staff who were caring for me. But I also had Josh. I had someone that I knew loved me and cared for me who was willing to help me. When I needed something, Josh went and got it (or found someone who could). When the doctor came in and talked through the plan for the next few days, Josh asked questions to make sure we understood what would be happening to me. When we decided that we didn’t want to pursue one of the options, he made that clear when the doctor came in. When I couldn’t sleep, Josh tried to make me as comfortable as I could possibly be. And when I just needed someone to be with me, he sat close by and stroked my hair.

I will never forget how thankful I was to have him there as my advocate. The relief and comfort I felt knowing that I had someone supporting me and loving me was invaluable during that time. I love that God has given marriage to us as a way to better understand the relationship between Jesus and His church. In the same way that Josh advocated for me and loved me during my time in the hospital, Jesus does the same thing for us each and every day of our lives.

I found myself thinking about this as I listened to Pastor Barry’s sermon from Sunday. He preached from the book of Leviticus, chapter 16, which describes how God spoke to Moses and provided instruction as to how Aaron, the High Priest, could atone for the sins of himself and his people. Leviticus 16:11 says: “Aaron shall present the bull as a sin offering for himself, and shall make atonement for himself and for his house. He shall kill the bull as a sin offering for himself.” (ESV) Leviticus 16:16 says: “Then he shall kill the goat of the sin offering that is for the people and bring its blood inside the veil and do with its blood as he did with the blood of the bull, sprinkling it over the mercy seat and in front of the mercy seat.” (ESV) In his sermon, Pastor Barry explained how the process of atonement that Aaron had to perform was a foreshadowing to the eternal atonement of Jesus Christ. Through this process of atonement, Aaron acted or advocated on behalf of the Israelites. Leviticus 16:32 says: “Then he shall kill the goat of the sin offering that is for the people and bring its blood inside the veil and do with its blood as he did with the blood of the bull, sprinkling it over the mercy seat and in front of the mercy seat.” (ESV) As Pastor Barry pointed out in his sermon, “Jesus took the ultimate disapproval, he took the wrath and curse of God. He was the scapegoat for our sin so that the one that we should be most concerned about approval, the Lord God of the universe, welcomes us and accepts us.”  As I listened to these words, I realized that, in the same way Aaron advocated for the Israelites, Jesus has advocated for you and I. He has taken the wrath and curse of God, and in doing so, became the complete and eternal atonement for sin. And through this act, Jesus became the ultimate advocate for you and for me. He acted on our behalf, living the life that we couldn’t, and dying the death that we deserved, so that He could sit on the right hand of God and advocate for you and I to receive love instead of justice.

As I thought back to the relief and comfort I felt knowing that Josh was advocating for me during my stay in the hospital, I thought about whether I experience the same kind of relief and comfort knowing that Jesus is advocating on my behalf to the one who matters most. To be honest with you, I don’t think that I live as if Jesus is my advocate – I think I spend most of my time trying to advocate for myself, justifying my sin and taking pride in the ‘good’ things I do. But in God’s grace, He continues to pursue me, humbly reminding me of my need for a savior. And in His infinite mercy, He has provided a savior (and an advocate) through His son, Jesus Christ. Brothers and sisters, if you struggle to feel the comfort and peace that comes from knowing we have the ultimate atonement and advocate in Jesus Christ, join me in praying that the Lord would open our eyes to the depths of our sin and the magnitude of the cross. For it is only through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus that we can even come to the Lord in prayer, as he patiently and lovingly advocates on our behalf.

Photo Credit: Sixteen Miles Out