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A Time To Ask

John 16:23-34
In that day you will no longer ask me anything. I tell you the truth, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete. (NIV)

The resurrection would change everything.  Jesus was preparing the trainee apostles for their new life after the resurrection.  In those days, Jesus would not be physically present all the time.  In that period of 40 days before His ascension He would appear to reassure them that His atoning sacrifice for sins was complete, and that He would be alive for evermore.  But He would also disappear.  Initially they were frightened but Jesus promised that they would receive the Holy Spirit who would be with them for ever (John 14:16).  He would teach them, reminding them of what Jesus had said.  After the Holy Spirit was given, they were bold and confident of Christ's presence with them (Matthew 28:20).

When Jesus was with them, they listened to Him teaching the crowds and then asked Him for the meaning when they were by themselves.  Every question they asked, Jesus answered.  He spoke truth.  But after the resurrection and ascension they were authorised to approach the Father directly.  Their authority was from Jesus, to ask the Father 'in Jesus' Name' (John 15:16).  That was not a mystical formula to get God's attention and cooperation but described their submission to Jesus as their Lord, and their desire to announce Him as the Saviour of the world (Acts 1:8).  Not only would their new Jesus-mediated relationship with Father God bring answers from heaven, it would also bring joy to their hearts.  They would not be alone: Jesus and Father God would make their home in the heart of every believer (John 14:23).  Wherever they went the powerful presence of the Holy Trinity would govern and guide them in such a way that they would experience great joy (John 17:13).   

That is still true today.  Every born-again child of God has the right to approach Father God through the sacrifice of Jesus and with confidence that Father God will respond to our cries (1 John 5:14) in such a way that our relationship with Him brings us great joy.  As with every relationship of loving trust, joy validates our confidence in the other person.  So it is with us and Father God.  F B Meyer, the British pastor and evangelist of over 100 years ago, said that joy is peace when it is dancing, and peace is joy when it is resting.  Every heart which is satisfied in relationship with God will be at peace; and, when stirred by God’s wonderful interventions, will overflow with joy.  Jesus urged His disciples to ask, seek and knock – expecting a good response from God (Matthew 7:7).  Asking in the Name of Jesus, in line with His will and missionary purpose, will bring His answer.  Yet many believers are reluctant to ask.  Some feel that they are not good enough to ask – and they are right … nobody is good enough … that is why we can only ask in the Name of Jesus who has paid for and forgiven our sins and made us children of the Father.  Whatever your reason for reluctance, be obedient and ask the Father in the Name of Jesus, submitting yourself to serve Him.  And then see what the Lord will do – wait in peace and receive with joy. 

Father God. Thank You that Jesus has authorised me to ask You for what I need, in His Name. Forgive me for being so reluctant to pray specifically, fearing Your lack of interest or my own unworthiness. Thank You that Jesus has taken away my sins and given me the right to call You Father. Please help me to develop my relationship with You by asking, peacefully waiting and joyfully receiving so that You will be glorified and Your kingdom built. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
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© Dr Paul Adams