"Death-destroying, life-restoring, Proven equal to our need, Now for us before the Father, As our Brother intercede; Flesh that for our world was wounded, Living, for the wounded plead!
"To our lives of wanton wand'ring, Send your Spirit, promised guide; Through our lives of fear and failure, With Your pow'r and love abide; Welcome us, as You were welcomed, To an endless Eastertide."
It is hard to imagine any circumstances in which it would be a good thing for Jesus to go away. Jesus told His disciples that He would return to His Father. He acknowledged their sorrow at the news, but then said, "Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away" (John 16:7b). Jesus' departure was to His followers' advantage because only if He left them would He send the Helper, the Holy Spirit, the "promised Guide."
Jesus' ascension is also to our advantage because we now have an Advocate with our Heavenly Father. Our crucified, risen and exalted Lord is now "at the right hand of God interceding for us" (Romans 8:34b). Our Advocate is not someone who stands aloof, apart from us. He is our Brother, One who was tempted as we are, yet without sinning. Having shared our weakness, He pleads for mercy for us, remembering that we are dust (see Psalm 103:14). He does not require payment for the intercession He makes. Wounded for us, He paid the price with His own blood and, risen from the dead, He "always lives to make intercession for us" (Hebrews 7:25b).
We need this Brother, this Advocate before the Father, because we are sinners, the walking wounded. Even as we seek to walk faithfully in our Savior's footsteps, we wander from His ways. Yet in the "wanton wandering" so often evident in our lives, we have the promised Helper, the Holy Spirit, who leads us according to the Word even as our Brother pleads for us before the throne of God.
Ascending in triumph, having accomplished on earth the Father's saving purpose. Christ was welcomed to His heavenly throne. Satan, our accuser, was thrown out of the courts of heaven (see Revelation 12:10) and now, instead of an accuser, we have an eternal Advocate before the Father. One day, sharing by faith in our Lord's victory, we will be welcomed before the throne as He was welcomed, where the Easter celebration never ends: "To Him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!" (Revelation 5:13b).
THE PRAYER: Lord Jesus, our Advocate, intercede for us until we are welcomed to the endless Eastertide in the courts of heaven. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Carol Geisler. It is based on the hymn, "Up through Endless Ranks of Angels," which is found on page 491 of the Lutheran Service Book.
1. Is your life good enough before God's judgment?
2. Why do we need an advocate before God the Father?
3. Does knowing that Jesus is for you impact the way you live?
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