Know and Go

Posted: October 25, 2015 in John

John 14:7-14, “Know and Go”

How would you react if someone told you that when you looked at them, you were looking at God?  In some cases, we’d probably be reaching for our cell phones, doing our best to dial “911.”  Someone who says that is either on meds, needs to be on meds, or just downright deluded.  We’re talking clinical insanity here.  At least, that would be the case in every situation save one: Jesus.  When it’s Jesus making the claim, it’s absolutely true.  Yet how would we react?  Would we believe – or would we think He was as crazy as anyone else?

The disciples had difficulty believing, and they lived with Jesus.  Even at this late date in the Upper Room, they already had their share of skepticism.  Peter has been told that he would (that night) deny Jesus three times, and Judas has already been prophesied to be the one who would betray Jesus to His death.  The 11 disciples who remained had difficulty enough believing the facts about Jesus that would come true within the next few hours, much less the next coming days.

They had such a hard time with it that they were obviously troubled, and that when Jesus called them to refocus their faith.  They had to get their attention back on to Him, His mission, and His promises.  They needed to believe in Jesus just as they believed in God.  They needed to know that Jesus would never leave them alone, but His departure was just temporary.  He would come back for them, and they would dwell with Him forever.  They needed to believe that Jesus truly is the only Way to God, shown by the fact that He is the truth and the life. 

Thomas had voiced his doubts, but he wasn’t the only one who doubted.  Jesus had told them throughout His ministry that He is in fact God, and the only way to God, and He reiterated it here.  They just didn’t understand.  They didn’t know what to believe.  As Jesus went on to explain it further, He doesn’t ease up on this idea; He doubles down.  He emphasizes in the strongest possible terms that He is completely unified with the Father, with all of the power of God as the true revelation of God.

It may have been difficult to believe, but it needed to be believed.  The disciples needed to make a choice of faith.  If they chose to believe, they would know the person and the power of God.  If they did not, they wouldn’t know God at all.  But if they believed – once they believed…they would be able to go on and do great works.  Jesus guaranteed it.  Knowing Jesus enables us to go and do things for the glory of God.

John 14:7–14
7 “If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; and from now on you know Him and have seen Him.”

  1. The “If” proves to be most interesting here.  There are a few ways of looking at “if” statements (conditional statements) in Greek, ranging the gamut from assuming that a condition is true (as in “since you have known Me”) – to assuming that a condition is false (“if you had really known Me”) – to assuming a real possibility (“if you know Me”) – to assuming a potential, but unlikely potential (“if perhaps you might know Me”).  The class that the statement is in obviously makes a huge difference on the interpretation.  As it happens, John 14:7 contains one of the manuscript variations that actually makes the difference between these interpretations.  On one hand, there are some manuscripts that have the 1st class (“Since you have known Me”) and others that have the 2nd (“If you had really known Me”).  Scholars debate the issue, and there is some decent evidence on either side.  The question comes down to this: does Jesus assume that the disciples already know Him in faith?  Based on the surrounding context, it would seem that the answer is no.  Thomas already asked a question to Jesus, demonstrating his own doubt in what Jesus testified about Himself.  Philip is about to ask a similar question, and Jesus expresses amazement that Philip of all people still doesn’t know Him.  In fact, one of Jesus’ themes throughout the beginning of the Upper Room Discourse is the need for His disciples to believe in Him.  So it would seem that here, the “if” is the 2nd option (as the vast majority of ancient manuscripts attest).
  2. How could this be?  These were men who lived with Jesus day-in & day-out for 3 years.  How could they not know Jesus in faith?  Keep in mind how difficult this would have been for anyone in their position.  We look back through time through the historical lens of the resurrection, and we know without a shadow of a doubt that Jesus is God Incarnate.  They were looking at Jesus prior to the cross, and they saw a guy they ate next to, slept next to, and walked next to on dusty roads.  Yes, they witnessed His miracles & teaching, and they most definitely had fleeting moments of faith.  They had the time on the boat after Jesus calmed the storm that they worshipped Him as God.  There was the time Peter expressed faith in the clearest of terms: “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.”  There was the moment that Peter, James, and John saw Jesus transfigured in all of His glory, standing with Moses & Elijah.  But those moments (as great as they were) were fleeting.  As soon as those flashes in time ended, they were still standing next to another human being.  It’s only natural that they would be plagued with doubts – and it’s evident they were, when we look at the response of the disciples to Jesus’ arrest and crucifixion.  It wasn’t until after Jesus’ resurrection that they were fundamentally transformed and able to be the bold witnesses they turned out to be.
  3. For now, they didn’t really “know” Jesus.  What does it mean to know Jesus?  It means to know Him in truth.  If the disciples had truly known Jesus for Who He is, as the way, the truth, and the life, then they would have known God the Father also.  One leads to the other.  If the Son is truly the only way to the Father, then knowing Jesus means that we’ll know God.  We cannot claim to know God if we do not know Jesus.
    1. Do we really know Him?  In truth?  Do we know Him for who He’s revealed Himself to be, and as the Scripture declares Him to be?  Not the generic “god” of the world so often claimed by celebrities – not the Jesus of our imagination where He becomes whatever we want Him to be – but do we know Jesus?  He is the incarnate eternal Word of God.  He is the Creator of the universe come in the flesh who died on the cross, but rose to life from the grave.  He is the Living Son of God who will come back to earth in power and victory.  That’s who He is.  Do we know Him in that way, as He truly is?
    2. Beyond knowing the facts about Jesus, do you know Jesus?  At the very least, this is one thing the disciples could truly hold a claim to.  They knew Jesus as a person.  They knew Him in real relationship.  So. Can. We.  This is not a story book or a fairy tale about a mythical figure from long ago…the Bible tells us of the real, living Lord Jesus Christ.  And WE can know Him in the same way that the disciples knew Him (and still know Him today in heaven).  Look around – who do you know around you?  Anyone can know Jesus in that same way.  And if you don’t, then you need to be introduced to Him.  It’s the only way for you to be saved.
  4. The good news for the disciples is that Jesus knew things were changing for them.  Notice the tense changes: “from now on you know Him and have seen Him.”  Although the disciples were Jews worshipping the God of heaven, they could not claim to know God if they didn’t know Jesus.  As becomes plain throughout this passage, the true knowledge of Jesus and of God the Father cannot be separated from one another.  But things were changing for the disciples.  They were knowing the Father at that moment.  They were coming to faith at that time.  Jesus was obviously amazed at their lack of faith leading up to this point (as is seen from His conversation with Philip), but He was not surprised by it.  He knew it would take the Resurrection for them to believe.  But that was right around the corner…literally days away.  At that very moment, the disciples were coming to faith in their knowledge of Jesus & their knowledge of God the Father.
  5. Beyond that, the disciples had already “seen” God the Father, even if they didn’t realize it.  God the Son was standing right in front of them, and He IS the revelation of God the Father.  This is an incredibly strong claim to Deity, and something that Jesus will affirm in even stronger terms in a moment.  In fact, the statement is so strong, it seemed to throw Philip for a loop.  Vs. 8…

8 Philip said to Him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is sufficient for us.”

  1. We can understand his question.  Jesus is in the Upper Room with the 11 – they had just finished their Passover supper – Jesus is telling them all of this seemingly mysterious information about His departure.  They understood what He was saying, but they could hardly believe it to be true.  Now Jesus is saying that they have already seen God the Father Himself.  It’s no wonder that Philip asks for a clarifying sign.  If Jesus would just show them the Father, then that would be “sufficient” – that would be enough to relieve all of their confusion.
  2. It might seem like an understandable request at first, but think about what it was Philip asked.  He’s asking for a theophany = a visible demonstration of the glory of God.  Theophanies had come in the past to the Hebrews, sometimes in the form of the Angel of the Lord, sometimes as in the pillar of cloud & fire that led the Hebrews through the wilderness.  This was no small task!  What Philip asked (likely without thinking) was absolutely huge!
  3. The truly ironic thing is that Philip had a theophany right in front of his eyes!  Jesus IS God incarnate.  Jesus IS the revelation of God.  With Philip asking this question, he reveals his own lack of faith in Jesus.  What does this say about how Philip saw the previous 3 years of miracles and teaching?  What does this say about how Philip viewed Jesus?  Jesus had done all kinds of things demonstrating His deity, and Philip wants more?!
    1. Guess what?  It’s not just Philip.  Philip didn’t ask only for himself, but for all of the disciples.  “Show us…it is sufficient for us.”  Philip may have been the one to speak up, but surely he gave voice to more than just himself in the room.  And guess what’s more?  It’s not just them…it’s so many of us as well.  How many people claim that they would believe in Jesus only if XYZ came true?  How many people put certain conditions on what God must do for them to believe?  Then it would be sufficient for them.  What God has done is already sufficient!  God has moved heaven and earth so that we might come to faith in Jesus and be saved.  It’s not up to God to do anything more; it’s up to us to respond to what God has already done!

9 Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?

  1. Jesus’ astonishment at Philip has to be expected.  Everything Philip asked for had been standing in front of him the whole time.  Philip was actually one of Jesus’ very 1st disciples, and had one of the earliest notions of faith among any of them.  The very next day after meeting Simon Peter, Jesus found Philip & called him to follow.  That’s when Philip ran out to find one of his friends & engaged in immediate evangelism.  John 1:44–45, "(44) Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. (45) Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found Him of whom Moses in the law, and also the prophets, wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.”"  The amazing thing is that Philip was right!  Back when Philip first met Jesus, he already knew that Jesus was the Messiah – and that was before he even got to witness 3 years’ worth of miracles.  If Philip knew it then, why didn’t he know it now?  Philip had even more reason to believe.  He had been with Jesus from the very beginning.  What happened that his faith was so fleeting?  Simply put: Philip was human.  He was just like any of us, and we probably would have been in the same situation.  It goes back to the idea of knowing Jesus.  Philip knew Jesus, but at the same time, he didn’t.  He knew Jesus in some ways, but hadn’t truly come to grips with everything it meant for Jesus to be the Messiah.  The Messiah is more than a man – is more than a king – the Messiah is God Himself.  Philip had been around Jesus, but he didn’t really know Jesus in that way.
    1. How true this is today!  We can be around Jesus a long time & still not know Him.  We can be around the church, and still not be a part of it.  We might even have membership, have signed a decision card, prayed a prayer, or done any number of things, but without true faith & experiential knowledge of Jesus, we have nothing.  If it could happen to Philip, it could happen to anyone.  Be sure to examine yourself.  What is it you believe about Jesus?  Do you know Him as He truly is?
  2. Jesus gets back to this incredibly strong claim to deity.  “He who has seen Me has seen the Father.”  Jesus IS the theophany that Philip requested.  Everything we need to know about the Father is revealed to us in the Son.  Do you want to know the power of God?  Look to Jesus.  The love of God?  Look to Jesus.  The grace of God – the judgment of God?  Look to Jesus – know Jesus.  There is no supposed difference between the God of the OT & the God of the NT – it is one and the same God, fully revealed to us in the Lord Jesus Christ.  Jesus is the image of the invisible God (Col 1:15) – Jesus did not consider it robbery to be equal with God because He is equal with God (Phil 2:6) – Jesus is the brightness of the glory of God and the express image of His person (Heb 1:3) – Jesus is the eternal Word of God who is God (Jn 1:1) – Jesus is the declaration of God (Jn 1:18) – do we get the point?  Jesus IS God!  The one who has seen Jesus HAS seen the Father.  When the disciples looked at God the Son, they were looking about the physical manifestation of God Himself.  They could not see God the Father any more clearly than when they were looking at Jesus.
  3. Know this as well: this is a claim unique to Christianity.  This is another claim that makes Christianity absolutely exclusive.  Jesus has already declared that He is the only way, truth, and life – He reinforces it here by declaring He is the visible incarnate revelation of the Ultimate Almighty Creator God.  No other religion can say the same.  Other religions have their prophets, and even their lesser gods – only Jesus is the transparent revelation of God Himself.

10 Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works.

  1. It’s a great question!  What do you believe about Jesus?  Do you believe that He is God?  There’s no doubt there is mystery here…but it’s all true.  The Son is not the Father, but He is in the Father & the Father is in the Son.  There is unity even while there is distinction.  Part of that was on display in the Upper Room with the disciples.  Jesus was present as an incarnate man, but He was still one with the Father, revealing the Father to all who were with Him.  Unified, but still distinct.  Jesus will go on in His high priestly prayer to affirm the fact that He and the Father are one (Jn 17:11, 21) – which is something He affirmed earlier in His ministry, when He was speaking of His role as the Perfect Divine Shepherd.  John 10:29–30, "(29) My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand. (30) I and My Father are one.”"  It was at this point that the Jews picked up stones to kill Jesus for blasphemy (Jn 10:31-33), and it’s understandable why they did.  This is an incredible claim!  But it’s one that Jesus proves (as we’ll see in a moment), and it’s one that is absolutely crucial to believe.
    1. What we believe about Jesus is critical – it’s literally the difference between life & death.  We might not understand everything about Jesus, but we have to be careful not to deny what the Bible affirms about Him.  The Bible says that Jesus and the Father are One, so they are.  The Bible affirms that Jesus and the Father are distinct, so they are.  That’s an article that we have to take by faith.
  2. The claim Jesus makes to this level of deity is huge.  It’s only reasonable for someone to ask for proof for such a claim…and Jesus gives it.  He points to His “words” and His “works.”  First, His words.  Jesus’ words have the authority of God.  Technically, Jesus didn’t use the actual word “authority,” which is why NKJV put it in italics, and the ESV & NASB ought to have done the same with their preferred translations.  The HCSB actually says it best when it translates it simply, “The words I speak to you, I do not speak on my own.”  Jesus was given a message, and His message carried the authority of the One who gave it to Him: the Father.  When Jesus says that He is the only way to God, Jesus isn’t making this up on His own, or pulling out of thin air.  This is something the Father gave Him to say.  Of course, people always realized that Jesus spoke with more authority than other prophets or teachers (Mt 7:29) – but they didn’t always realize the source of His authority.  His source was none other than God the Father.
    1. Objection: “Isn’t that self-serving?  Anyone can claim to speak the words of God.  How can you prove otherwise?”  It’s true that many people do claim to be prophets and speak for God.  Some people even claim to BE God.  From this aspect, words can be rather cheap.  At the same time, there are some things you just know when you see it or experience it.  You might think you’ve had decent BBQ until you taste something really good. But once you know it, you know it.  Jesus’ words have an authority like none other.  His words are truly unique.
  3. Even so, Jesus doesn’t stop with only words.  His words are backed up by His works, even tied together by Jesus’ own statement about His Father doing them.  Jesus’ works are done in the power of God, by God the Father Himself.  Jesus neither claims that His authority comes from Himself, nor His power.  This is remarkable, especially considering how clear Jesus has been in regards to His deity.  Jesus is the way to God – Jesus is the revelation of God – Jesus IS God…one would think that Jesus Himself is the source of His power and authority.  And technically Jesus never outright denies that, but apparently it’s not something that He asserted or exercised.  He specifically says that His words and works come from another: from the Father who dwells in Him.
    1. This takes us back to the mystery of the Trinity.  They are One, but yet the Son willingly submits Himself to His Father.  They are totally equal with one another, and yet Jesus is humbly submitted in love, all for the greater glory of God.
  4. Where is the Father?  He “dwells” within the Son.  Physically speaking, the Father is spirit (Jn 4:24), thus He is without a body.  The Bible also affirms that God is omnipresent – there is no place in creation where God does not previously exist.  So Jesus isn’t trying to nail down a physical location for the Father – that’s not His point.  Jesus is speaking in spiritual terms – in personal terms of being & character.  The Father is the one who remains in Jesus, who takes up spiritual abode in Jesus.  The idea here is perfect unity.  Seeing Jesus = seeing the Father.  Hearing Jesus = hearing the words of the Father.  Witnessing the miracles of Jesus = experiencing the power of the Father.  When you get one, you get the other.  It simply cannot be avoided.
    1. There’s no going around Jesus.  People want their own way to God, but there isn’t one.  People want to go to heaven on their own terms, doing their own thing, but it isn’t possible.  We go through Jesus, or we don’t go at all.  We worship God the Father through Jesus, or we do not worship God at all.  It doesn’t matter what people might say their relationship with God might be.  If they don’t know Jesus Christ as God, they don’t know God at all.

11 Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me, or else believe Me for the sake of the works themselves.

  1. Jesus drives home the point here.  He is in the Father & the Father is in Him.  They are completely unified, but yet totally distinct.  There’s no doubt that the doctrine of the Trinity is difficult to understand.  The ancient creeds went to great lengths to draw some of the distinctions.  Quoting from the Athanasian Creed: “That we worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity; Neither confounding the Persons; nor dividing the Essence. For there is one Person of the Father; another of the Son; and another of the Holy Ghost. But the Godhead of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, is all one; the Glory equal, the Majesty coeternal. Such as the Father is; such is the Son; and such is the Holy Ghost. The Father uncreated; the Son uncreated; and the Holy Ghost uncreated. The Father unlimited; the Son unlimited; and the Holy Ghost unlimited. The Father eternal; the Son eternal; and the Holy Ghost eternal. And yet they are not three eternals; but one eternal. As also there are not three uncreated; nor three infinites, but one uncreated; and one infinite. So likewise the Father is Almighty; the Son Almighty; and the Holy Ghost Almighty. And yet they are not three Almighties; but one Almighty. So the Father is God; the Son is God; and the Holy Ghost is God. And yet they are not three Gods; but one God. So likewise the Father is Lord; the Son Lord; and the Holy Ghost Lord. And yet not three Lords; but one Lord.”  And that’s only part of it!  J  If your mind is spinning, you’re not the only one!  J  Jesus said it succinctly: “I am in the Father and the Father in Me.”  The Son is not the Father, but the Son is in the Father.  Each have their own role, but they are (along with the Holy Spirit) in complete unison.
    1. When Jews look at Christians, they don’t get it.  Neither do Muslims or anyone else.  From their perspective, Christians are polytheists who worship 3 gods.  Not true!  Biblical Christianity is monotheistic, and we worship ONE God.  This One God is eternally revealed in three Persons, as seen from the very foundations of the world & made clear to us in the Person and teaching of Jesus.  “Clear,” of course, is relative. J  The doctrine is true, but it’s not easy to understand.  We have to be willing to take Jesus at His word, even when our minds struggle to wrap around this.  If Jesus is God (and He is, as proven through His words, works, and resurrection), then what Jesus describes about God must be true as well.  (And it’s only reasonable to assume that some things about an infinite God would be beyond our understanding.)
  2. What is all of this mysterious doctrine supposed to do?  What is it that Jesus commands of the disciples?  “Believe Me.”  They needed to have faith.  Whether they took Him at His word for the things He was just now saying, or if they had to rely on what they witnessed in the past from His miracles, they needed to believe.  This is what Jesus has been saying since the very beginning of Ch 14: believe!  Believe in Jesus the same way they believe in God.  Believe that Jesus is preparing a home & will come back for them.  Believe that Jesus is the way to God & the revelation of God & is one with God.  Believe!
  3. The bottom line is this: we have to affirm what the Bible affirms, and that’s going to include some mystery about the nature of God.  We have to believe.  Keep in mind that belief is a choice.  Specifically here, it’s an imperative verb – a command.  We don’t often think about it in those terms.  Typically we think of belief as being a reaction or even our opinion of something.  As if what we believe one day is based on how we feel.  We look at news headlines & based on our emotional reaction to them, we either believe our country is going to succeed or fail.  That kind of reactional response is not what Jesus calls for.  We need to be proactive with our faith.  This kind of belief is a conscious choice that we make.  We’ve seen the evidence, so we choose to believe in Jesus.
    1. What choice have you made?  You’ve already made one, whether you realize it or not.  You might need to ask yourself if you want that to be your final decision.

12 “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father.

  1. Jesus mentioned the works that He had done in vs. 11.  Regarding those works – the things that the apostles witnessed was only the beginning.  For those who made the choice to believe, they would also DO the works of God.  In fact, they would go on to do even “greater works” than Jesus did.  That sounds impossible, doesn’t it?  If it were anyone other than Jesus saying this, it would sound too good to be true.  It would sound like so many other religious charlatans or false prophets who try to guarantee that we can have superhuman powers if we only have enough will & (so-called) faith.  But obviously this is no charlatan…not by a long shot!  This is Jesus.  And Jesus said that those who believe in Him will do His works & greater works.
    1. Keep in mind that when Jesus says “he who believes,” directly implies “he who believes rightly.”  When we believe that Jesus is God (i.e. everything that Jesus has taught to this point), it means that we know that He is not our butler.  God is God & we’re not.  We have to believe in Jesus as He has revealed Himself to be.
  2. Even with that in mind, what Jesus says here is still amazing.  First, He says that we will do His same works.  We will do the works of the Lord Jesus Christ. (!)  Obviously there are some works of His that none of us will ever do – not even the greatest of all the apostles.  None but Jesus has (or can) die for the sin of the world and rise from the grave granting new life.  None but Jesus can pay the price of sin through His shed blood.  So some works of His are unique to Him.  Some works of His never would be duplicated, simply because of the reason the work originally occurred.  The feeding of the 5000 was a miracle specifically showing Jesus to be the Bread of Life & the true Manna given by God for the world.  For the apostles to do the same miracle would send the wrong message.  Other works are not duplicated, simply because there is no need.  Turning water into wine or walking on the Sea of Galilee is not recorded in the book of Acts because they weren’t necessary.  But other works were done.  The lame & disabled were healed, the blind received sight (Paul himself had that experience!), and the dead were raised to life – all in the name of Jesus.  So yes, those who believe have done (and will continue to do) the works of Jesus.
    1. Even beyond the obviously supernatural, there is a different work that is done quite often.  Jesus described a different work of God when He said that His own food was to do the will of God & to finish His work (Jn 4:34).  He told the Jews that the work of God was to believe in the one God had sent (Jn 6:29).  So yes, those who believe DO perform the works of Jesus…and they are great works indeed!
  3. Not only did Jesus say we will do His works, but that we will do even “greater” works because Jesus has gone on to the Father.  How so?  What can possibly be greater than the resurrection?  Keep in mind that there is more than one way to define “great.”  Great can refer to quality, and from that aspect there is nothing greater than the work of Jesus.  What He has done is supreme, and nothing else comes close.  But great can also refer to quantity, and that’s a different thing altogether.  By the end of Jesus’ ministry, He had 11 disciples, and a handful of other men and women who believed in Him.  By the time He ascended to heaven, there were at least 500 people who believed & saw His physical resurrected body.  Now compare that to the very 1st day of the church, when the Holy Spirit came upon the apostles on Pentecost.  Peter preached, and 3000 were saved in a single morning.  Within a few years, the growing church had gained a reputation for turning the world upside-down.  How many Christians have lived during the past 2000 years?  Even if many were false converts, a percentage of Christians throughout the centuries numbers in untold multitudes.  And it hasn’t stopped yet!  People are still getting saved today.  Quantitatively, this is a greater work indeed!
    1. BTW – this is a work in which we’re all privileged to participate.  Are you taking part?  When was the last time you pointed someone to Jesus in some way?  Last week – last month – last year…ever?  Jesus has given us a great work to do, and great power in which to do it.  We have a harvest right in front of us…let’s get to work!

13 And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.

  1. How can we be assured of doing the same & even greater works than Jesus?  He gives us His personal guarantee.  And just in case there are any doubts, He says it twice.  Even then, we still doubt.  We read this & naturally object.  This sounds far too good to be true.  “Guaranteed prayer?  Impossible!”  Yet that’s exactly what Jesus says.  Yes, there are qualifications, but before we look at them, look first at the promise. “I will do it.”  It’s tough to get clearer than that.  In fact, the grammar is emphatic.  It could possibly be translated, “I myself will do it.”  Our requests unto God, offered rightly, have the personal guarantee of being accomplished by the Lord Jesus Christ.  That’s a promise you can take to the bank!
    1. This ought to give us such confidence in our prayers!  Too often it seems that we pray expecting the answer to be “no.”  Here, Jesus guarantees a “yes.”  He personally gets involved and will see it done.  How much more would you pray if you knew that Jesus would agree?  That’s what He does here.
    2. Notice how this once more affirms Jesus’ deity.  Earlier, He said the works He did were done by the Father who indwelt Him.  Now He makes the explicit claim to be able to answer prayer…any prayer.  That’s something only God can do. 
  2. As great as this promise is, it’s not a blank check.  Jesus by no means promises to be our personal genie, granting wishes anytime we feel like rubbing the lamp in prayer (so to speak).  He isn’t our butler or our slave.  He is our Lord, King, and God.  He puts three conditions on this promise: (1) we have to ask, (2) we have to ask in Jesus’ name, (3) whatever is done is for the glory of God.
    1. First, we have to ask.  This may seem basic, but it’s important.  We have not because we ask not (Jas 4:2).  We would God grant a request that we aren’t moved to ask for?  If it’s not important enough for us to ask, how can we expect God to act?  Sometimes the only thing God is waiting for is for us to be obedient in the asking.
    2. Second, we need to ask in Jesus’ name.  This doesn’t mean that we use Jesus’ name as a type of incantation to secure our prayers.  It doesn’t mean that if we mindlessly mutter the words “In Jesus’ name,” that our prayers will be guaranteed.  It does mean that we are asking in the authority of Christ, based on the shed blood & resurrection of Christ, according to the will of Christ.  When a police officer says “Stop in the name of the law!” it means that he is acting on the authority of the written law of the land, and what he commands is in fact legal itself.  If the police act outside of their legal authority, they are held as liable as any other citizen (or ought to be).  Thus when we ask for something in Jesus’ name (sincerely speaking), then we are not only asking in His authority, but we are submitting ourselves to His authority.  What God wills, God will do.  What God wills not, He will deny.  He has that right, by virtue of being God. 
      1. We can understand why God denies selfish prayers & evil prayers, but there are others more difficult to explain.  Some things are good prayers…even things we know are within the revealed will of God (i.e. salvation).  Why are some of those things denied?  To be honest, there are no easy answers.  But it helps to remember a few things. (1) God is always good, no matter what.  Sometimes that’s easy to see; other times we have to take it on faith.  But it’s always true.  (2) Only God can see the end from the beginnings, and He alone know what will bring the most good.  A heavenly perspective is often different from an earthly one.  (3) God has allowed mankind to have free will.  We need to remember this especially in light of salvation.  God will woo, invite, and reach out in all kinds of ways making it possible for people to respond, but He will never force anyone to be saved.  They need to respond in their own free will.
    3. Third, whatever is done is for the glory of God.  “…that the Father may be glorified in the Son.”  If our request doesn’t match up with the glory of God, it will not be granted.  Keep in mind that ALL things are done for the glory of God.  Even Jesus’ suffering was for the glory of God, which is why Jesus submitted to it, even while praying for a different way.  The glory of God is the very purpose of our existence.  We were created for His glory, redeemed for His glory, and will spend eternity with Him for His glory.  Thus however Jesus answers our prayers today will be done in a way that brings God the most glory.
  3. The bottom line is that we are to pray!  Jesus gives us work to do, and He gives us the power to do it.  We can pray confidently, yet still humbly submitted to Jesus as we seek the glory of God.  (And the good news is that even when we don’t know how to pray rightly, we have a prayer partner in the Holy Spirit, who prays for us!  Rom 8:26-27)

Conclusion:
As Jesus continues the Upper Room Discourse, He gives a call to believe & a call to action.  Believe in Christ Jesus & His unity with the Father.  Believe Jesus as the revelation of God to us with all the authority & power of God, as God Himself dwells in Him.  Believe that Jesus IS God, and that He is completely sufficient for us.

And once you believe, get going.  Go and do the works of Jesus.  Do even greater works than Jesus.  Go show people the power of God through the testimony of a previously dead man or woman given new life by the resurrection of Christ.  Go participate in the harvest of God, fully confident that Jesus will equip you with whatever you need along the way.  Pray for the strength to do it, and believe that Jesus will give it.  Pray for His will to be done, and watch it come to pass.

It all starts with & hinges upon faith.  Do you know Jesus?  How long have you seen Jesus & been around Jesus?  Do you yet know Him?  Do you know Him in truth for who He really is?  Do you know Him in real relationship just like you know the other people of your family or workplace?  If you don’t, make the choice today.  Make the choice to believe.

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