1 John 2:1-2 Part 1 - Jesus Our Advocate

This past week Klaven Embertson’s father passed away. On Friday there was a beautiful service held for Don Embertson in which Christ was celebrated through hymn and homily. The very first song that was sung was ‘Softly and Tenderly’. Please allow me just a moment to remind you of the words to this old hymn.

Softly and tenderly Jesus is calling, calling for you and for me;

see, on the portals He’s waiting and watching, watching for you and for me.

Why should we tarry when Jesus is pleading, pleading for you and for me?

Why should we linger and heed not His mercies, mercies for you and for me?

O for the wonderful love He has promised, promised for you and for me!

Though we have sinned, he has mercy and pardon, pardon for you and for me.

I am sure that you are also familiar with the chorus:

Come home, come home, you who are weary, come home;

Earnestly tenderly, Jesus is calling, calling O sinner, come home!

This song is typically sung to call sinners to repentance and faith. As Dwight L. Moody lay in a hospital bed he said to Will Thompson, the author of this hymn, “Will, I would rather have written ‘Softly And Tenderly Jesus Is Calling’ than anything I have been able to do in my whole life.

As I sang this song at the funeral I found myself thinking of the words in light of this occasion and I began to push back against the idea that when Christ calls us into eternity he would say, ‘Earnestly tenderly, Jesus is calling, calling O sinner, come home!’.

Did Don Embertson, who had a strong faith in Christ, here his Savior say, ‘Come home, O sinner, come home’?

I found myself longing to hear Jesus say to Don,

  • Earnestly tenderly, Jesus is calling, calling O saint, come home!’ or

  • Earnestly tenderly, Jesus is calling, calling O redeemed, come home!’ or

  • Earnestly tenderly, Jesus is calling, calling O child, come home!’.

It was not until a few hours later that I came home and sat in my office to look at today’s text that I realized that this song is rightly to be used as a call to faith and repentance; and also as a call of hope for Christians as they lay in their deathbed. In fact, Mr. Thompson was profoundly right when he wrote, ‘Earnestly tenderly, Jesus is calling, calling O sinner, come home!

Our text this morning is found in 1 John 2:1-2and we clearly see that we are indeed sinners who are in great need for Jesus Christ the Righteous to be our advocate before the Father because we still sin in this life. In other words, we who are in Christ are the redeemed and we still will sin. We are children of God; and yet, because we still sin we need an advocate in heaven to speak on our behalf to the Father.

My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. (1 John 2:1-2)

You and I continually strive to become more and more Christlike right up to the day that we are called home. Yet, we know that we will need Christ advocating and pleading our case before God right up until the last breath that we take in this life.

I will need Jesus to say to His Father in the moment of my death, “Father, I have suffered for this sinner. My righteousness is his now and forever.

The second stanza of ‘Softly and Tenderly’ encapsulates so much of what we see in 1 John 2:1-2. Again, it says,

Why should we tarry when Jesus is pleading, pleading for you and for me?

Why should we linger and heed not His mercies, mercies for you and for me?

I see at least three truths that are brought out in this stanza.