In Jesus' name (part 3)
To do anything “in someone’s name” is to represent that person to another. Not only did Jesus instruct His disciples to pray to the Father “in His name”, but He also warned them about representing Him to others:
John 15:20-21 Remember the word I spoke to you: ‘A slave is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you…they will do all these things to you on account of My name
As Jesus continued to warn them of His impending death, He said:
John 16:20-22 “I assure you: You will weep and wail, but the world will rejoice. You will become sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn to joy. When a woman is in labor she has pain because her time has come. But when she has given birth to a child she no longer remembers the suffering because of the joy that a person has been born into the world. So you also have sorrow now. But I will see you again. Your hearts will rejoice, and no one will rob you of your joy.
Although they wouldn’t fully understand Jesus’ metaphor when He said this, they would certainly recognize the joy they would feel when the saw Him again after He rose from the grave. Their rejoicing wouldn’t end, either. Their newfound joy would resonate within them for the rest of their lives.
Then for the third time in final teachings after the Last Supper, Jesus returns to the topic of praying to the Father “in His name”:
John 16:23-24 In that day you will not ask Me anything. I assure you: Anything you ask the Father in My name He will give you. Until now you have asked for nothing in My name. Ask and you will receive, that your joy may be complete.
Shortly after His resurrection, Jesus would ascend back to Heaven to be with the Father. Although the joy of seeing Him alive would remain with them for the rest of their lives, Jesus would no longer be physically present for them to ask questions and make requests…their Rabbi of the last three years was going to leave them.
However, Jesus is giving the disciples permission to make requests of the Father – as if they were representing Jesus Himself. No observant Jew would make any request of the Father without going through the High Priest and having the proper sacrifice…but now Jesus instructs His followers to interact with the Father directly, just like He does. To make sure the disciples completely understand how they are going to pray, Jesus tells them:
John 16:26-27 In that day you will ask in My name. I am not telling you that I will make requests to the Father on your behalf. For the Father Himself loves you, because you have loved Me and have believed that I came from God.
Direct access to the Father…and assurance that the Father loves them. Simply because they have loved Jesus and believe that He is who He claims to be – the Son of God, and God the Son.
It’s from within that relationship the disciples would find their joy, and their joy would overrun their lives. So much so that they would emulate Jesus and then confidently make requests of the Father “in Jesus’ name”.
We can also participate in the same relationship with Jesus and the Father, since we love Jesus and believe that He is who He claims to be. In Him we find our complete joy and our model to emulate…we also find direct access to the Father to make our requests “in Jesus’ name”.