John 16:23-28 (NIV)
“In that day you will no longer ask me anything. I tell you the truth, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.
“Though I have been speaking figuratively, a time is coming when I will no longer use this kind of language but will tell you plainly about my Father. In that day you will ask in my name. I am not saying that I will ask the Father on your behalf. No, the Father himself loves you because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God. I came from the Father and entered the world; now I am leaving the world and going back to the Father.”
The disicples had depended on Jesus for their connection to God for more than three years. They had relied on the connection that He had to ensure that they had all they needed each day. But now Jesus was going away.
This could have been devastating. How then would they get what they needed? Would they have to go back to fishing or collecting taxes to provide for themselves? How would they even know what they needed in order to do the tasks that God was calling them to do?
The solution was quite simple, even elegant: when Jesus left and sent the Holy Spirit to live in the disicples, each of them would have their own direct connection to God. They would need no intermediary. They would no longer need to ask Jesus for what they needed and then wait while He presented their requests to the Father.
Instead, as they continued to work Jesus’ mission, the mission of growing the kingdom of God by making disicples of all nations, they would have the privilege of asking God directly for whatever they needed to accomplish that task. Asking “in Jesus’ name” simply means that they would be acting as His proxies, asking for what Jesus Himself would ask for if He was in their position.
If they approached the throne of God “in Jesus’ name,” then they could rest assured that the Father would hear their prayers, and that they would receive everything they asked for. It would be that simple.
This promise is still in effect for the people of the kingdom. All God’s children who are engaged in the work of God’s kingdom can approach His throne directly; we need no intermediary, human or divine, to bring our request to the Father. And as we make our requests as Jesus’ proxies, acting in His name, requesting what we need to accomplish His mission of the growing the kingdom, asking for exactly what Jesus would request in our place, we can rest assured both of God hearing our prayers and His willingness to answer.
Father, it seems that many of us have gotten off track in this area, somehow believing that we can’t come to You directly, but that we need someone to ask on our behalf. But that is clearly denied by Jesus’ words here. Of course, the qualifier that we ask “in Jesus’ name,” ask for what He would ask for in our position, keeps our requests focused on necessities instead of mere wants. Help me, Lord, to come before You expectantly, not fearful of rejection, but in the assurance that as long as I am asking for what I need to fulfill Your calling on my life, my requests will be welcomed and answered by You. Amen.
If you are enjoying my blog, I invite you to check out my book, When We Listen, A Devotional Commentary on the Gospel of Mark. Just follow this url: http://eagerpress.webstarts.com/ Thanks, and God bless you all!