John 16 v23-33, “In that day you will no longer ask me anything. Very truly I tell you, 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. 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. 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.” 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 “Do you now believe?” Jesus replied. 32 “A time is coming and in fact has come when you will be scattered, each to your own home. You will leave me all alone. Yet I am not alone, for my Father is with me. 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.”
Whatever you do today make sure you have asked the Father for something.
Paul Harvey, who was long considered the most-listened-to radio broadcaster in the world died in 2009. He was called “the voice of Middle America,” “the apostle of Main Street” and “the voice of the Silent Majority” by the media for his flag-waving conservatism and championing of traditional values. He lives on in the many human stories he told.
Here’s one such story:
A three-year-old boy went to the grocery store with his mother. She sternly told him before entering the store, “No chocolate chip cookies, so don’t even ask!” In the store she put him in the little child’s seat in the cart, and they wheeled down the aisles. He was quiet until he got to the cookie aisle. He saw those delicious chocolate chip cookies, stood up and said, “Mom, can I have the chocolate chip cookies?” With a strong voice she said to him, I told you not to even ask. No!”
He sat down. They went down the aisles but later had to come back to the cookie aisle again. He asked for them again. She told him, Sit down and be quiet. I said no.” Finally arriving at the checkout lane, the little boy knew it was his last chance. He had to do something quick. So he stood up in his seat and shouted as loud as he could, In the name of Jesus, may I have some chocolate chip cookies?”
Everyone around him began to laugh and applaud that little boy. And because of the generosity of the other shoppers, the little boy and his mother left the grocery store with twenty-three boxes of chocolate chip cookies!
Note how many times in this short passage at the end of chapter 16 the word ‘ask’ is used.
Hours from his death, Jesus is preparing his disciples for what is ahead of them. He tells them he is going away but they will see him again. But when they do things will be different. Wonderfully different and it will be centred on our opportunity to ask.
Who will we ask?
We will ask the same person that Jesus has been asking, the Father. Jesus is instructing us to approach the Father in the same way as he has done and to ask. He is saying (though He is our intercessor which John makes clear on many occasions) we don’t need Jesus to ask for us, we can ask directly ourselves. The reason for this is that the Father loves us! Before we drop this thought because we know it, pause, think. How incredible is this?! How do we know this to be true? It is because we love Jesus and follow Him.
How do we ask?
‘In my name’ which we have seen before what this is.
It is to come to the Father in prayer acknowledging a) we are followers of Jesus; b) we belong to him and c) the glory of God is the most important result of the ask.
Why do we ask?
Jesus says trouble is ahead. For those reading this today then you know in your life you have had all kinds of trouble. You may even be in great difficulty now.
The disciples fail in their first response. Hours later as Jesus is being taken to the cross, the majority have run away in their panic. The trouble has caused them to abandon ship. It was too traumatic for them and they run for their lives. Their action doesn’t change their circumstance but they want to leave as fast as they can. How many of us have done or at least thought of doing that? To leave.
But the disciples came to understand and experience what we have also. Peace from heaven. The circumstance of our life may not change. We may not get 23 packs of chocolate chip cookies! But we remain in situation and we do so with a peace that the world cannot give. A peace which has a foundation on the victory of Christ.
So let us ask the Father today, in the name of Jesus.
And let us receive peace that passes all understanding.
For Christ wins and so do we.