THE SERVANT GENERAL
OUR THEME FOR 2018
ASKING IN JESUS’ NAME
gospel: John 14:6-14
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).
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
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?
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).
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).
works are to bear good fruit that will glorify God. Such is
the work of greatness.
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.
James says, “You ask but do not receive, because you
ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.” (Jas 4:3).