My Advocate Had None

Walking through the path of Jesus toward his crucifixion, I’ve been reflecting upon the outrageous trial he endured before the Jewish court. He stood there as they looked for a fraudulent accusation that was sufficient for them to justify sentencing him to die.

As I have read through the accounts of this occurrence, it strikes me that Jesus was, in a very real sense, alone. He had no one to speak on his behalf or to represent his interests. There was no one there to argue his innocence. He answered only when asked a direct question and then he spoke the truth that gave the leaders all of the justification they needed.

Blasphemy. They accused Jesus of blasphemy because he affirmed that he was the Son of God. Indeed, it was blasphemy…unless he really was God.

Jesus spoke only a couple of sentences in an entire night of prodding, chiding, and accusation. He had no one to speak for him. He had no advocate.

An advocate is simply one whose role is to speak up for someone else. In 1 John 2.1 we see these powerful words, “…we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.”

As I think about the hatred and vitriol spewed continually upon Jesus that night, it rocks my soul to realize that Jesus, my advocate, had none.

When we have failed and our accuser rails to the righteous Judge regarding our guilt, there is no answer that we can make. But Jesus, our Advocate, answers for us. He speaks up when we have no words. Yet, when he stood facing his accusers, he had no advocate.

As the blessed old hymn so sweetly asks, what wondrous love is this, O my soul?

Taste the Brokenness

From time to time gatherings of Jesus-followers pause to remember. We remember the depth and significance of the sacrifice of Jesus on our behalf. We remember the love God has shown to us. We remember the price of our freedom. We remember the hopelessness of life without Jesus.

One of the most tangible, sensory-driven remembrances we have been given is the experience of the Lord’s Supper. While it is referenced in a number of ways, most christians recognize it as a fundamental ordinance of the church that ought to be a part of our worship experience on an intentional and regular basis (though there are a great number of opinions in regard to how often that ought to be).

Reflecting upon the biblical narrative of the night that Jesus transformed this observance from a ritual of the Law to a remembrance of grace, I find myself transfixed by the richness of sensory expression in this simple but tremendously significant act of eating a bite of bread and swallowing a sip of juice or wine. It’s striking and strong and beautiful.

The bread that Jesus broke and handed to the disciples was a picture of the breaking and tearing of his own body – on our behalf. He said we should eat of it in reflection of how we all have been given life through embracing his death in our place. Jesus, the one who said, “I am the bread of life,” made clear that only in partaking of his death would we have life. Continue reading Taste the Brokenness

To Spend And Be Spent

Some things are simply spent when you use them. Other things you can re-use. We would probably be wise to pay attention to the difference between the two.

Some things, when they are spent, are simply translated into other things, other resources, or other economies.

A couple of weeks ago, we took our huge family to Kansas City to see a play. In one sense, there was a lot of money spent that will not come back to us. But, in a much greater sense, those funds were translated into memories and priceless time together. Every dime was invested in relationships.

I have found myself on many occasions thinking about the example of Paul the Apostle as he wrote to the Corinthian believers, “I will most gladly spend and be spent for your souls.” (2 Cor. 12.15)

I have known people that modeled that sentiment, who continually spend their resources and their very lives pouring into, caring for, and looking after others. And, though I have tried to follow suit, I am still wrestling to overcome my own self-centeredness. Continue reading To Spend And Be Spent