John 16:23-24 (NIV) 23 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. 24 Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.
On verses 23-24: When Jesus says “In that day” what day is he referring to? Jesus is referring to the time after his death and resurrection. Jesus is talking about the amazing access his followers will have to the Father “in that day”. As part of that access, Jesus promises that we will receive whatever we ask for from the Father in Jesus’ name. What does it mean to ask in Jesus’ name? It doesn’t mean that we can pray for anything and simply tack on the words “in Jesus’ name” and expect to receive it. As we discussed in John 14:13-14, to ask in Jesus’ name means that we ask for what Jesus would ask for in that situation and that we believe in the authority of Jesus’ name to accomplish what we ask for. When we ask in Jesus’ name, we will receive what we ask for and we will experience a joy that the world cannot give.
John 16:25 (NIV) 25 “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.
On verse 25: Prior to his death and resurrection, Jesus would often resort to illustrations and pictures that his disciples could understand to tell them what God the Father is like. But “in that day” after Jesus Christ has died and resurrection, Jesus would no longer need to use figurative analogies and pictures to tell them about the Father. Rather, Jesus would be able to speak to the disciples plainly and directly about the Father and the disciples would understand it. This is another aspect of the amazing access Jesus’ disciples would have to Jesus and to God the Father.
John 16:26-28 (NIV) 26 In that day you will ask in my name. I am not saying that I will ask the Father on your behalf. 27 No, the Father himself loves you because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God. 28 I came from the Father and entered the world; now I am leaving the world and going back to the Father.”
On verses 26-28: A third aspect of the amazing access Jesus’ disciples would have is that they would be loved directly by the Father. Don’t misunderstand here. Is Jesus always our mediator and our bridge to God? Yes. Without Jesus, we would have no access to the Father’s presence. However, the Father’s love for you is also a love that goes straight from His heart to yours. The Father doesn’t just love you because of Jesus or through Jesus. The Father loves you as you are. In the era after Jesus has died and resurrected, we are direct, personal recipients of God’s love.
John 16:29-32 (NIV) 29 Then Jesus’ disciples said, “Now you are speaking clearly and without figures of speech. 30 Now we can see that you know all things and that you do not even need to have anyone ask you questions. This makes us believe that you came from God.” 31 “You believe at last!” Jesus answered. 32 “But a time is coming, and has come, when you will be scattered, each to his own home. You will leave me all alone. Yet I am not alone, for my Father is with me.
On verses 29-32: Did the disciples really understand what Jesus was saying, as they suggest in verses 29-30? No. The disciples might have thought that they understood what Jesus was saying, but Jesus knew better. That is why in verse 31 Jesus says, “You believe at last!”, which is probably better translated, “Do you believe now?” Jesus knew that the disciples still hadn’t really gotten it, and to prove this point he predicts in verse 32 that each of his disciples would scatter and abandon him. But Jesus is also careful to point out that even when all his disciples leave him, the Father is still with him.
What can we learn from this?
1. Sometimes we might think we know something well, when really God knows that we don’t know it anywhere near as well as we think we know it. Don’t be quick to assume you understand, lest you risk looking like a fool.
2. Though everyone else abandons you, God will never abandon you. He will never leave you or forsake you.
John 16:33 (NIV) 33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
On verse 33: This is one of my favourite verses in the Bible. Notice that Jesus does not promise his followers a trouble-free life (“In this world you will have trouble”). Much the opposite, Jesus says that trouble is inevitable, but that we can take heart because Jesus has overcome this trouble-filled world.
Heavenly Father, thank You for so personally and directly loving me. Thank You that though in this world we will have trouble, we can take heart and find all that we need when we look to Jesus Christ Your Son. In Jesus’ name, AMEN!