J – E – S – U – S !!!
John 16:16–24 once again reminds the disciples that Christ must suffer and die for the sins of the world (Mark 8:31). The days ahead will be especially dark and frightening for those who so closely followed Jesus. Yet the outcome will be powerful and world changing. Jesus explains this using the analogy of childbirth.
Jesus is now teaching the Church the nature of Christian prayer. He had not yet taught his disciples that when they go to God in prayer, they will go with a new right to enter his presence. They will go through the way opened up by Christ’s death on the cross. That Way is Jesus himself. What happens when we pray true prayers of faith that will be answered is that the Holy Spirit of Jesus moves us to go on his behalf to God to ask. God hears the prayer, by his choice, as coming from his one and only Son. We are messengers of Christ to God.
When we ask in this way, we will receive what we ask for. In a certain sense, only prayers prayed in Jesus’ name will be effective. If we pray prayers that are not the will of God, or the prayers of Jesus through us, then they will not be answered. They will not have the necessary faith behind them that comes from God for us to pray according to his will. God’s desire is to partner with us and to allow us to do his work. He loves us, and he loves to be with us. When we engage in this process it is a source of great joy to him and to us. In fact, our “joy will be complete” by becoming people of prayer who abide in Christ and learn his will, praying it back to God. It is a profound privilege for the believer to be able to go into the presence of God and pray in the name of his Son who dwells in us but is also at God’s right hand.
Breaking Down the Key Parts of John 16:24
#1 “Until now…”
Jesus is getting ready to drop in a huge element of faithful prayer that is effective. Until now, this had not been revealed.
#2 “…you have not asked for anything in my name.”
Though the disciples had prayed, and been taught to pray while Jesus was on earth, they did not know to pray to the Father in the name of Jesus. Now that he was leaving, the nature of communication from humans to the Father would be through the Son.
#3 “Ask and you will receive,”
Prayers that are not answered, are those not according to the will of God. It is sometimes hard to know which of our prayers is asked according to his will and in Jesus’ name. When we get the thing we’ve prayed for, we know.
#4 “and your joy will be complete.”
It is a true blessing to see God answer our prayers. It is a partnership that he desires even more than us. Our complete joy in the situation is a reflection of his own joy.
Are you asking? Seeking? Pray! In the spirit, it has always been there. You are waking up to realize what is YOURS. Amen.