Tom: We’re continuing with the gospel. We’re in the Gospel of John:16:24: “Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name. Ask and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.”
Of course, this is Jesus speaking, and He’s telling us to ask—that our joy might be full. So sometimes we ask for things that we think might add to our joy, but they don’t.
Dave: Yeah, He’s actually following up from verse 23, Tom, and I don’t remember that we went into any great depth about that, where He says, “Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, He will give it to you.” And people think, “Wow! There’s the formula! I just have to throw out the name of Jesus— ‘in the name of Jesus’—just ask whatever I want, and then I say ‘In the name of Jesus,’ and I’ll get it.” Obviously, that’s not what it means.
If we are asking in His name, we are asking what He would ask, as He would ask, to His glory, not for our glory—this is not an “Open Sesame,” some magic password that now we can get what we want from God, but we are asking as He would ask. His name is engraved on our hearts and on our minds, our will, and we’re following Him and doing everything to His glory. But, as you said, sadly, not too much that we ask is really to the glory of God—to His glory—but it’s for our own benefit.
Tom: Right. So if it’s a lust, if it’s pleasure, that we want, in seeking our own end, our joy will never be full. It’s only in Him, in what He wants. Because He knows—you’ve said this many times, Dave—He knows…Anybody who doesn’t want God’s will is really crazy. I mean, they’re really insane, because God, who is perfect, and wants only the best for us will provide those things, so our joy can be full.
Dave: Right. Now, it’s interesting what He says: “Hitherto you have asked nothing in my name.” Well, He taught them to pray. They said, “Lord, teach us to pray.”
He said, “After this manner…” It’s not a repetitious formula that you repeat, but it’s a pattern for prayer: “After this manner, pray ye: Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; forgive us our debts, our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. For thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory,” and so forth. We know that prayer.
But there is nothing in that prayer about asking in the name of Jesus because Jesus was on this earth with them. But now He’s going away, and He says, “I’m going to go away and I’m going to be with my Father,” and furthermore, going away, He’s going to pay the penalty for our sins. He was going to the Cross. He was going to attain eternal redemption for His disciples. And then, something changed: “From now on, guys, you ask the Father in my name.” Okay? This was something new, and this is why we always pray to the Father in the name of Jesus. We’re simply obeying what He said.
And verse 25: “These things have I spoken unto you in proverbs. But the time cometh when I shall no more speak unto you in proverbs, but I shall show you plainly of the Father.”
Tom: Dave, is there a difference here? That uses the term “proverbs.” Is that any different than parables?
Dave: I don’t think so. A proverb, or a parable, you don’t come right out and say what you mean. You illustrate it in a insightful way that would really create more—a deeper understanding, and that was what Jesus did. In fact, He said to His disciples: “I have much to say unto you, but you can’t bear it. But when the Holy Spirit comes, He will lead you into all truth.”
And furthermore, it says that He always spoke to the multitude in parables, and then when He was alone with His disciples, He would explain it to them. So, well, He’s going to be speaking through the Holy Spirit now directly to the disciples, who will be filled with the Holy Spirit, and they are going to receive His Word, and it will be written down in Scripture.
Tom: And verse 26, in the latter part: “And I say not unto you that I will pray the Father for you.” That seems a little…
Dave: Well, let’s go on. He says, “At that day, you will ask in my name and I say not unto you that I will pray the Father for you.” In other words, He’s not going to then have to get down on His knee in front of the Father and say, “Father, please, do this.”
“…for the Father himself loveth you because ye have loved me, and have believed that I came out from God.” So I think Jesus is saying, “I’m going to intercede for you on the Cross. I’m going to pay the penalty for your sins on the Cross. You will become the children of God. You are going to pray in my name.”
And, Tom, I think this is important. Very often, I say, “Father, we come to you in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and through His blood poured out upon the Cross, without which we have no entrance, we have no access, we have no claim we can make upon you.” And I think we have to be careful that we don’t just say, “Okay, God, this is what I’d like.” We come in the name of Jesus. We come humbly. We come as sinners who are unworthy, washed in the blood of Christ, forgiven, because He paid the penalty for our sins, and that’s how we have access to the Father.
So, Jesus says, “But look, you’re not asking in my name because I’m going to have to get down on my knees in front of the Father and beg Him to do something for you. No, the Father loves you, but you have no access except in my name. This is how you’re going to come to the Father is in my name.” I think this is all that He is saying.
“But the Father loves you, and when you come in my name, He will give you what you ask. But it must be in my name, to my glory, as I would ask.” And, Tom, as you were saying earlier, we would be a lot happier if we could get that straight. Instead of wanting things or wanting our will, our way, He wants our joy to be full. He knows what we have need of. You were intimating that earlier. There’s a big difference between what I want and what God knows I need. And I’m not just to try to get what I want. You know, we’ve probably mentioned it before, and I’m sorry to mention it again, because Kenneth Hagin has recently died, I think a few months ago now, but he wrote a booklet titled How to Write Your Own Ticket with God. And he said that Jesus had appeared to him and gave him four principles, which “If you follow these, you can always get what you want from God.”
Yonggi Cho said much the same thing. He claimed that God taught him you have to visualize what you’re praying for, and when you get a clear picture of it, now I can give it to you, because God said to him, “How do I know what you want? What kind of a bicycle?” and so forth. “You’ve got to visualize this. Give me a clear picture, then I can give it to you when I know what you really want.”
But Jesus said, “Your heavenly Father knows what you have need of before you ask.” And we do not want to try to get what we want from God. We want to submit to His will and have Him give us what He knows we have need of.
Tom: And Dave, others, for example, Pat Robertson writes about the “law of reciprocity,” putting this into spiritual laws—that’s not what the Lord’s talking about here.
Dave: No, I come “…in His name...”—I want to live as His representative—“in His name,” whatever I say, whatever I do, whatever I think. And I’m here to live to His glory, and what a privilege, what a joy it is! Rather than trying to “get” for myself. Even if I say, “Well, Lord, I do want to serve You; I want to be a man of God,” and then I’ve got my own idea of how I might go about it. On the other hand, He reveals from His Word what He wants us to do, and how He wants us to live, and we’re not trying to be critical, Tom. We are nothing. We know so very little, but we want God’s will, and that’s all we’re trying to say.
Tom: Right. And, Dave, the scripture does say that we are to be careful…. You know, I’ve been going through the Old Testament, and there’s some would say, “Well, okay, that’s what the Old Testament says…” No, God wants us be holy as He is holy. We want to be instruments that can be used of Him, that are open to what He has—not just for us, but how He wants to use us in the lives of others. And it’s got to be His way.
Dave: We’ve got an important statement here in verse 27. I guess we’re about out of time… “The Father himself loveth you because you loved me and have believed that I came out from God.” Jesus Christ came from the Father, to reveal the Father to us, and to open the way for us into the presence of the Father. And this is the foundation of our faith in Christ. This is who He is.