“Jesus realized they wanted to ask him about it, so he said, “Are you asking yourselves what I meant? I said in a little while you won’t see me, but a little while after that you will see me again. I tell you the truth, you will weep and mourn over what is going to happen to me, but the world will rejoice. You will grieve, but your grief will suddenly turn to wonderful joy. It will be like a woman suffering the pains of labor. When her child is born, her anguish gives way to joy because she has brought a new baby into the world. So you have sorrow now, but I will see you again; then you will rejoice, and no one can rob you of that joy. At that time you won’t need to ask me for anything. I tell you the truth, you will ask the Father directly, and he will grant your request because you use my name. You haven’t done this before. Ask, using my name, and you will receive, and you will have abundant joy.” John 16:19-24
The disciples were troubled. Jesus must have seen the look of fear and confusion on their faces when he spoke of leaving and then returning. And so he explains clearly about how he is going away but will be coming back to them. They will be like a woman who gives birth, he says, anguish will be turned to joy.”
And once he has returned from the dead and been resurrected, then the disciples won’t need to ask Jesus for anything. No, ‘you will ask the Father directly” and he will grant the request because “you use my name.” And again Jesus says, “Ask, using my name, and you will receive.”
Why does the name of Jesus spark such controversy? Why do Christians pray in his name and pagans curse his name? Why do demons shudder at the sound of his name? Because this is the name by which all power, authority and dominion has been given. It’s at the name of Jesus that every knee will bow and tongue will confess that Jesus is Lord (Philippians 2.10-11).
Interesting that Jesus is emphatic in saying to his disciples — pray in my name. It’s not a suggestion, not a request. It’s a — “if you want anything, you must pray in my name or it’s not going to happen,” sort of a thing. The authority Jesus had since the beginning of time, and the dominion over death that he is going to achieve in his death and burial, gives him the authority over all of creation. When we pray in his name to the Father and by the power of the Holy Spirit we can accomplish anything.
So what is keeping us from asking? What is preventing us from praying in the strong name of Jesus? The name above all names…
“O Lord God, you are good. You are doing a work in my life that I know for sure. Even when I get off the path, fall in a hole or walk in the darkness — your love is relentless. Come now, Lord Jesus, you who conquered sin and death, have your way with me. Take my time and make it your own. Help me understand that its not just what I do for you, its who I am in you. Come now, Holy Spirit, fill me with your power and love. For you are good and your love endures forever.” Amen