Aug 07

Ask Anything in My Name

“In that day you will ask nothing of me. Truly, truly, I say to you, whatever you ask of the Father in my name, he will give it to you. Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.”
John 16:23–24 (ESV)
         In chapters 14–16 of the Gospel of John, in what is called “The Last Supper Discourse,” Jesus says no less than five times (14:13, 14; 15:7, 16; 16:23) that the disciples can ask anything in his name and they will receive it. It seems to me that there is a fine line that the Christian must walk if we are truly to live in our inheritance on this point.         First, why does Jesus make such a point of this in this, his last message before the Cross? I think it is because they are about to enter into a whole new relationship with him. He will no longer be with them to them. From now on, if they want to know the truth, it is going to have to come to them from the Father by the Spirit (Jn 15:26; 16:12–15). So Jesus says that they had not had to ask in this new way before. So Jesus is not talking primarily about asking for things, but for inspiration to know and live the truth. Is this where you and I live in our prayer life?

    Second, to ask for something in Jesus’ name is to say in effect, “Father, Jesus told me to ask for this.” Can I really say, “Father, Jesus wants you to give me a new BMW”? Maybe, but I doubt it. Key here is what Jesus says in 15:7, “If you abide in me….” We can only know what Jesus wants us to ask for if we are living right in him. They we can ask on Jesus’ behalf.

         Third, if we really want to know the Father through Jesus, and we are living “in” Jesus, we truly can ask for “anything.” This is of course, Semitic hyperbole, an overstatement to get the point across. It is rather like Jesus’ statement that we cannot serve him unless we hate our parents. Of course, he does not mean that we should hate our parents, but that our commitment to him must be that much stronger than even the one to them.

So here, he does not mean that we can ask in his name to be instantly made a foot taller, and that it will happen. Rather, if we really want to know God and his truth, and Jesus is living and breathing through us, then “anything” that we ask in the context of that relationship is possible. But to use Jesus’ repeated statements here as a formula to get what we want from him, to consume it on our own desires (James 4:3), is not faith, but the worst sort of idolatry.

What are you asking God to do in your life today? Anything is possible.

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2 comments

    • Tommy Artmann on August 10, 2015 at 7:32 am
    • Reply

    Thank you. A great reminder as I begin my week.

  1. Until now you have asked nothing in my name. s Ask, and you will receive, t that your joy may be full.

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