February 9, 2017
Read: 1 John 1:8–2:2
Bible in a Year: Leviticus 6–7; Matthew 25:1–30
If anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.—1 John 2:1
From a Florida prison cell in June 1962, Clarence Earl Gideon wrote a note asking the United States Supreme Court to review his conviction for a crime he said he didn’t commit. He added that he didn’t have the means to hire a lawyer.
One year later, in the historic case of Gideon v. Wainright, the Supreme Court ruled that people who cannot afford the cost of their own defense must be given a public defender—an advocate—provided by the state. With this decision, and with the help of a court-appointed lawyer, Clarence Gideon was retried and acquitted.
But what if we are not innocent? According to the apostle Paul, we are all guilty. But the court of heaven provides an Advocate who, at God’s expense, offers to defend and care for our soul (1 John 2:2). On behalf of His Father, Jesus comes to us offering a freedom that even prison inmates have described as better than anything they’ve experienced on the outside. It is a freedom of heart and mind.
Whether suffering for wrongs done by us or to us, we all can be represented by Jesus. By the highest of authority He responds to every request for mercy, forgiveness, and comfort.
Jesus, our Advocate, can turn a prison of lost hope, fear, or regret into the place of His presence. —Mart DeHaan
Father in heaven, please help us to know what it means to have the freedom of Your love and presence. May we experience this freedom even in places that we have only seen as our confinement!
The one who died as our substitute now lives as our advocate.
INSIGHT: John encourages us to be honest about ourselves. Actually, his words are more of a warning than they are encouragement. Writing to a struggling church, John reminds his readers that we all struggle with sin and the claim that we don’t struggle has several drastic consequences: We deceive ourselves, the truth is not in us (1 John 1:8), we make God out to be a liar, and His word is not in us (v. 10). But John’s point is not a downer. Those warnings surround a very familiar promise. Our sins do not keep us from God—because when we acknowledge (confess) them, we are forgiven for them (v. 9). What do you need to confess as sin and then trust that God has forgiven? J.R. Hudberg
Share your thoughts on today’s devotional on Facebook or Our Daily Bread