Even now my witness is in heaven; my advocate is on high. My intercessor is my friend as my eyes pour out tears to God; on behalf of a man he pleads with God as a man pleads for his friend. Job 16:19-21 NIV

And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever–the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. John 14:16-17 NIV

My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense–Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world. I John 2:1-2 NIV

Our current sermon series is focusing on the Holy Spirit. In John 14:16 Jesus called the Holy Spirit our Counselor (Paraclete). This Greek word Paráklētos, can also be translated as helper or advocate. While our son Joshua was alive, my husband and I had many opportunities to be an advocate for him. Our son was non-verbal, so could not express his wants and needs in the same way other children could. Our son could communicate, with sounds and facial expressions, but in meetings with school staff he needed us to be his advocate, to speak on his behalf, to ensure that his needs were addressed and were taken into account.

But take a look at I John 2:1-2 above. In these verses John told us that Jesus speaks to God on our behalf, that He defends us before God the Father. So, is the Holy Spirit our advocate or is Jesus? Perhaps they both are, in different ways.

Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died–more than that, who was raised to life–is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Romans 8:33-34 NIV

For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all men–the testimony given in its proper time. I Timothy 2:5 NIV

These verses tell us that Jesus intercedes for us and because of the cross, is the mediator between us and a Holy God.

In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will. Romans 8:26-27 NIV

But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. John 14:26

The Holy Spirit also intercedes for us, especially when we have no words to express our grief, pain or distress. The Holy Spirit’s role is to teach us God’s truth revealed to us in His Word, to help us appreciate and appropriate the truth already revealed in the Bible.