Jesus the Lobbyist

By David B. Smith

Photo by Pixabay

You’re a lobbyist?

You’d almost have better luck putting “Top Used-Car Salesman” on your resumé. Politicians, especially those with an ambitious eye on a comfy white house in our nation’s capital, make sure we all know they’ve never been a lobbyist, never been influenced by a lobbyist, never even met a lobbyist. They cast their votes based on just the facts, ma’am, and not on golf junkets proffered by influence peddlers from Big Pharma or Freddie Mac bankers. Hey, for all they know, a quid pro quo is something you order at a seafood restaurant.

The surprising thing, then, is that the Bible proudly describes Jesus as being a lobbyist! If any man sin, John writes in his first epistle, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. The Living Bible paraphrase has a decidedly K Street flavor with this rendering: There is someone to plead for you before the Father. And whether we view our Savior as a lobbyist or a very effective defense attorney, the end result is the same: he offers to peddle his influence regarding a rather weighty decision . . . our eternal destiny!

Hebrews 4 adds to Christ’s curriculum vitae by lauding him as our high priest – and in Bible times the priest was an advocate on behalf of sinners seeking absolution. If we sign with him, we find a Friend who is not only sympathetic with our travails, but who empowers us to approach the throne of grace with confident boldness.

The biblical concept of propitiation – the turning away of God’s wrath – has maybe given frail Christians the idea that we do need a powerful lawyer to stand before the bar on our behalf. But this ignores the wonderful truth that Jesus Christ and his Father are united in their desire to redeem and restore us. The late John Stott comments in his standout book, The Contemporary Christian: “Whenever we have cast Jesus Christ in the role of a third party” – a lobbyist, if you will – “who intervened to rescue us from an angry God, we have been guilty of a travesty which stands condemned, since it is God who loved the world and God who took the initiative to send his Son to die for us.” Remember the wonderful hymn? “O Jesus, blest Redeemer, sent from the heart of God.”

Whenever we confess a sin, or imagine ourselves going into that great galactic courtroom, or even just whisper a prayer, we need to bear in mind that the things Jesus wants, God wants too! John unravels his own “lobbyist” metaphor by having Jesus say to his disciples in John 16: I don’t need to send God a basket of fruit on your behalf . . . because the Father himself loves you!

So instead of reading Scripture as saying, “We have an advocate with the Father,” let’s envision both their names on the same corporate letterhead. And now, “We have an advocate with the Father.”