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FROM THE SERVANT GENERAL
 

FROM THE SERVANT GENERAL


OUR THEME FOR 2018

(Part 47)


ASKING IN JESUS’ NAME

May 3, 2018

Today’s gospel: John 14:6-14

After telling the apostles that believers in him will do greater works (v.12), Jesus gave them the “formula” for how that would happen. It was simple: just ask in his name. “And whatsoever you ask in my name, I will do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.” (v.13). This was for anything, anything at all. “If you ask anything of me in my name, I will do it.” (v.14).

Now of course that is not just a verbal formula. Many Christians today, when they ask God for things, end the petition with “In Jesus’ name we pray.” But for many, they are being presumptuous. Invoking the name of Jesus, oftentimes done mechanically, does not force God to act favorably. What they ask for will not necessarily happen. This is because they might ask selfishly, or for wrong things 1, or with wrong motives, or worse, for sinful things.2

What does it mean to ask in Jesus’ name? It means being attuned to the heart and mind of Jesus. It means being submitted to the authority and will of God. It is praying as Jesus taught us to pray: “your will be done, on earth as in heaven.”3 It is not about what we want to happen, but what God wants to happen through us. It is about asking for what God Himself would want to happen. It is asking as though Jesus himself is the one asking. When we ask in Jesus’ name, then we are acting as his representatives, on his behalf, on his account. We are people doing his work. As such, we need to be asking according to his will. We ask not for what is good for us, but what is good for the Kingdom. The aim is for the Father to be glorified in the Son (v.13b). Will what we are asking for do that?

So asking in Jesus’ name is asking according to God’s will. If we do so, then we can confidently be assured. “And we have this confidence in him, that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in regard to whatever we ask, we know that what we have asked him for is ours.” (1 Jn 5:14-15).

Further, Jesus had just said that we would do greater works than he did. His intent is for us to become instruments of God’s will, to do the very works of God, in fulfillment of His very intent for the life of the world. We are to bear fruit for the Kingdom. As such, Jesus told the apostles, “It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he may give you.” (Jn 15:16).

Our works are to bear good fruit that will glorify God. Such is the work of greatness.

* * *

1 What we ask for, no matter how seemingly good to us, might not be in accordance with God’s will. Or perhaps God just has something better for us.

2 James says, “You ask but do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.” (Jas 4:3).

3 Matthew 6:10b.

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