Saturday, March 1, 2014

Ask Jesus! (John 13 - John 14:14)

  In John 14, Jesus makes a startling promise: 
"If you ask Me anything in My name, 
I will do it." John 14:14

  What is He saying? If Jesus is just a man, as some claim, then how can He make such a statement? Let's examine the context in which these words were spoken.


  The entire passage actually begins in John 13, as Jesus and His apostles have gathered to eat the Passover Meal. It is just the start of what will be a night filled with heartbreak for all involved, but primarily for the Lord Himself. 

  Jesus knew His time was short, and every minute that followed would soon be ingrained in the apostles' minds for the rest of their lives. They sat there stunned as the Master took up a bowl and some water and washed the feet of each and every one of them, Judas included, in an act of servanthood that was both unexpected and troubling at the same time. Yet even this act of incredible humility failed to soften the traitor's resolve. 

  After exhorting them to serve others as He had served them, Jesus quotes from a Davidic psalm (41:9) to reveal to His most trusted disciples that one from their very midst was about to betray Him. And then Jesus said this:  


  19 “I am telling you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe that I Am He." John 13


  Those words "I Am He" in this verse make up one of 4 instances in the Gospel of John in which Jesus uses the Divine Name, YHWH, for Himself. The Name is rendered in the Greek text as "ἐγώ εἰμι," which transliterates as "ego eimi." At that point in the evening, the only ones who knew what Judas was about to do were Jesus and the traitor himself. 

  And so, to paraphrase Jesus (italics mine),

  "I have told you who is going to betray Me, so that after you've seen him do it, you will believe that I Am YHWH."

  Jesus is left with the 11 when Judas leaves them to arrange for Jesus' arrest, now only a few hours away. And so He begins to prepare them for His imminent death. They've been hearing about this for some time now, but here He clearly tells them He will only be around "a little while longer." 

  Then He prophesies to them about how Peter will deny Him not just once, but three times. And so, on the heels of that stunning revelation, Jesus speaks these words of comfort to them,

  “Your heart must not be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in Me." John 14:1     

  Their faith is about to be much more seriously shaken, as they will see their Messiah Jesus arrested, abused, charged in a kangaroo court, sentenced to death and then executed via one of the most horrific methods of torture ever devised by man at the time. 

  And those are the words of comfort Jesus leaves with His disciples. Those are the words that will carry them through the next three days, as they mourn His death and at the same time try to recover from having had their world turned upside down on them.

  Jesus tells them to believe in Him in the same way that they believe in YHWH. 

  And yet no one gets up and shouts, "Blasphemy!" 

  Why not? 

  Because they have seen the way this Man has lived. 

  Yes, they have seen His miracles. 

  Yes, they have seen Him raise the dead and feed thousands with just a few loaves and fish.

  But, more importantly, they have seen Jesus' love firsthand. 

  They have seen His love for the Father, they have seen Him love others, and they have felt His love themselves.

  It is His love that will sustain them, not just through this trial, but through the rest of their service to Him and His Kingdom.

  But Jesus has more that these men need to hear. 

  Even if it's not the first time they're hearing it, they will remember these words because of the context in which they are being spoken. 

  Throughout the rest of the passage (vv. 6-14), Jesus makes claim after claim about Himself: 14:6, 7, 9, 10, 11, 12 and 13

  No mere man can say any of these words about himself. 

  Only Jesus has that right.

  And then He comes to the one verse that clinches them all, verse 14:

  "If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it." 

  In these 12 words (9 in the Greek), Jesus is claiming all three divine powers:

   Omniscience

   Omnipresence

   Omnipotence 

  With these 12 words, Jesus is saying that:
  
    -  He knows all things

    -  He can be everywhere all at once, and

    -  He has all the power that He needs to do what is asked of Him in prayer

  And please remember this: 

  Jesus is telling His apostles all of this the night before His death. 

  How is a mere man going to keep these words if he is no longer around to do so? 

  The obvious answer is that Jesus is no mere man.

  "If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it.  

  Only God can make this promise. 

  What does Jesus not say in this verse?

  Jesus does not say:

        "If you ask the Father..." 

  He says, "Ask Me." 

  Jesus does not say:

        "If you ask Me anything in the Father's name..." 

  He says, "Ask anything in My name..." 

  Jesus does not say:

         "If you ask Me, I will ask the Father to do it."

  He says, "I will do it.  

  Why can Jesus say this?

  Because it is as He said, 

  "The Father and I are one." John 10:30

  Yes, the Son had come to serve, and He did so in a way that no human will ever be able to compare with. 


  But as the Apostle Paul tells us:    

  8 "He humbled Himself by becoming 

       obedient to the point of death — 
       even to death on a cross.

  9  For this reason God highly exalted Him

      and gave Him the name
      that is above every name,

10  so that at the name of Jesus

      every knee will bow—
      of those who are in heaven and on earth
      and under the earth—

11  and every tongue should confess

      that Jesus Christ is Lord,
      to the glory of God the Father." Philippians 2

  Will you bow your knee to Him today and confess Jesus as your Lord? 
  
  You won't regret it!

  By the way, should any questions come to mind as you read this...

  Don't be shy.

  ASK JESUS!  

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