Put in a good word for me...
Put in a good word for me is a line that's been uttered or heard by most of us. It’s been used and heard for a variety of reasons from being something you say to the best friends of girls that you might like, to someone asking you to do it because you have the ear of the boss at a company they might want to work at. The reason we've either used or heard it is that sometimes a good word about you is enough for someone else to give you a hearing.
Earlier last year, I bought TIME magazines hundred most influential people edition. (I love that stuff.) Leaders, titans, pioneers, artists, icons and the people that have been heavily influencing our human story whether that be positively or negatively.
My first move as an Australian is to flick open to the map. You know to see who's doing Australia proud.
Number six on the list from Melbourne was Emma Gonzalez.
Who? Never heard of her. (Ain’t nobody got time for that.)
Who's the other Australian? Hugh Jackman! From Sydney, Yes! Hugh, he's a good bloke, of course. (But still probably not worth a read. It'll be something about the 'Greatest Showman'. Sick of hearing about it.)
With my inner dialogue complete, I thought I'd have a flick through the magazine anyway and there on the second page was the person I didn't have any time for, Emma Gonzalez. Her name turns up on a list of names.
That's even less impressive, whatever she's done, it wasn't on her own. She's a nobody.
(There's that inner dialogue again.) But this time as I went to turn the page, I noticed that the article had been written by...
Barack Obama, and then all of a sudden it became a must-read. Obama spoke about this ragtag bunch of youth that Emma was part of as speaking truth to power; he wrote about what they've already done, what they are currently doing, and how that is affecting the future. Coming from a man that was running a whole country, he claimed that it's their current critique of power that is doing more to wake up the nation to the truth than the government ever could.
I'd written her off. She was a nobody, I'd made up my mind about Emma Gonzalez, it wasn't going to be worth listening to anything she had to say. But when Barak Obama, a powerful and influential leader, with a wisdom gleaned from overcoming great adversity, advocated for her. It was then and at that exact moment that I decided her story was worth listening to.
While the word advocate isn't found in the First Testament narratives, the characters in God's story certainly participate in this very Australian idea of putting in a good word on behalf of someone else. Abraham puts in a good word for Sodom (with his fingers crossed), Moses kind of puts a good word in for his people (it's more of an appeal to God about looking after his own reputation, but still it's mediation) and there are many other accounts recorded as the story winds on all the way to Jesus who promises this according to John...
"When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father—the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father—he will testify about me. And you also must testify, for you have been with me from the beginning..." (John 15:26-27)
So the Advocate will be putting in a good word for Jesus. But that’s not where it ends Jesus instructs his apprentices to back that word up, to put that word in as well. Why?
I think it’s because when Barrack put in a good word for Emma, I gave her a hearing.
When people I respect put in a good word for Jesus, I give God a hearing.
And whenever I’ve heard God speaking it’s tended to sound a lot like a paraphrase of something Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 5:19-21…
I was in Christ, reconciling the world to myself, no longer counting people's sins against them. And I gave you this wonderful message of reconciliation. So you are Christ's ambassadors; I am making my appeal through you. You speak for Christ when you plead, "Come back to God!
Or in other words, you know me, will you put in a good word for me?