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September 12, 2021 | Doug Sauder
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“And now I say to you, keep away from these men and let them alone; for if this plan or this work is of men, it will come to nothing; but if it is of God, you cannot overthrow it—lest you even be found to fight against God.”—Acts 5:38-39 (NKJV)
Pigs had a greater chance of flying in Israel on the day Peter and the other apostles found unlikely support among the religious inquisition they were swimming in. Like a ray of sunshine amidst ominous storm clouds came the voice of Gamaliel. He, too, was wearing the jersey of the religious leaders of the first century, but he spoke with uncanny wisdom on behalf of dead men still standing.
Peter & Co. must have literally dropped their jaws as they heard the life-giving voice of this aged sage speak up on their behalf. Having been bullied by the self-righteous spiritual police ready to terminate their earthly existence, they now heard words of life and help: “Keep away from these men and let them alone.” Swine soared that day.
Has anyone ever advocated for you? Perhaps someone spoke up on your behalf when you were bullied in school. Maybe it was your boss or co-worker who sided with you when you clearly didn’t expect it.
My moment of advocacy came from my own brother, whom I repeatedly offended one boring summer day. My attempts to aggravate him led to a chase out the front door, right into a patch of central Florida sand spurs. My first couple of steps absorbed multiple needles piercing my feet. As the pain began to register, I fell down into more prickly spurs. My older sibling stood over me. Trapped and prepared for justice, I braced for the worst. But then, an unlikely act of mercy occurred: My brother picked me up out of the trouble, pulled the spiny sticklers off me, and brought me home.
This Christmas, remind yourself of the babe from Bethlehem who is the greatest advocate of all. Caught in the sand-spur patch of our sin, we deserved hell-bound justice. Instead, by faith we were graciously rescued, restored to a family of faith, and we continue to experience forgiveness for our sins. “And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous” (1 John 2:1 NKJV).
DIG: Think about people throughout history as well as in the Bible who have advocated on behalf of others. Allow them to inspire like-minded actions in your own life.
DISCOVER: Take time to ponder the lawyer-like advocacy of our Savior. Think of the ways He has worked—and is currently working—on your behalf
DISPLAY: Pray this prayer: Righteous Lord, thanks for representing me at my worst, loving me in my lowest, and rescuing me at such an unlikely time in my life. Though no one advocated for You when you embraced Golgotha’s cross, yet you still advocate for imperfect sinners. Grant me a heart to stand for others in need of help this day. Amen.