When God Does What You Ask For – John 16:23-24

“Whatever you ask of the Father in my name, he will give to you. Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask and you will receive, that your joy may be full.” This enigmatic command is repeated by Jesus three times in John 14-16 (see 14:13-14, 15:16, and 16:23-24). It must be important if Jesus repeats it to His disciples three times on the same occasion (at the Last Supper). What does Jesus mean to ask the Father in His name and the Father will do it? The obvious answer is that up to this point Jesus had been with His disciples in person and so there wasn’t much need to pray to God the Father when Jesus was right there with them in person to supernaturally intervene in people’s lives. Now Jesus is going away (in physical presence) and so He is teaching them a different way to ask of or pray to God that applies also to us. With each repetition of this command Jesus taught the disciples more about how this new prayer relationship with God works. When Jesus tells the disciples in chapter 14 that He will do whatever they ask in His name, He also tells them to believe that He acts by the authority of God the Father because He is of the same nature as the Father and they can act on His authority (as God) when they do the same works that He did (vs. 10-14). In chapter 15 Jesus tells the disciples that He will tell them what He has heard from the Father, that is, He will reveal God’s plans or will to them so they can be productive for God’s Kingdom (vs. 15-16). In chapter 16 Jesus tells His disciples that they can have a happy and fulfilled life because they can talk to God the Father directly in Jesus’ name. God will do what you ask of Him (and you will have a happy life) when you ask by the authority granted you by Jesus as His obedient disciple and you ask those things that are consistent with God’s character and will.

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