May 19, 2024: The Promised Lawyer



The Promised Lawyer

What is the picture that comes into our minds when we think of Pentecost?

Tongues of fire? A rushing wind? People from many places getting accused of being drunk at nine o’clock in the morning? Party time, or, as someone has called it, Pente-chaos?!

Jesus offers a very different picture in his promise of the Spirit or his preview of Pentecost. He doesn’t mention wind or fire or any of the spectacular things that took place on the day that is described in the second chapter of Acts. No, he said that the one he would send would come . . . like a lawyer!

We know from other Scripture passages that Jesus is our Advocate—our Comforter, our helper, the one who pleads our case and is on our side. The direct translation of the Greek word is “Paraclete.” Depending on the translation or version we use, we find it rendered as Comforter or Advocate. In Spanish versions, “advocate” is often translated as “abogado” or . . . lawyer.  And now Jesus says that he is going away, but he will send another Advocate—another lawyer—to do all of those things and to guide his followers “into all the truth.” Talk about a high-powered legal team!

But this Advocate—this Paraclete, this lawyer—isn’t simply “on our side,” in the legal sense of the phrase. No, the Advocate walks beside us and is with us, comforting us and guiding us, reminding us of the truth that Jesus taught and embodied, throughout all of our lives. That’s the power of Pentecost! That’s the purpose of the promise! We can all be filled with the Spirit and be guided and comforted and reminded constantly of the one who is the Way, the TRUTH, and the Life.

Sam Gray, pastor, New Philadelphia Moravian Church
Winston-Salem, North Carolina