Second Sunday in Lent – Monday
Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, He will give it you. – John 16:23.
Do you hear, O Christian, what the Lord assures you of here? Whatsoever you will ask in Jesus’ name, trusting in Him who has graciously made you a dearly beloved child of God, grounding yourself on this His promise, but in humble, child-like submission to God’s Fatherly wisdom, He will give it you! This is glorious! Until then, the dear disciples had not prayed thus in Jesus’ name. Why not? Because, as yet, they had no full, inward understanding of the Word and speech of Jesus. For the greater part, it had remained a dark saying to them. And He had been with them, and had always supplied what they lacked. But now He said: “Ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full” (John 16:24). For now the time was to come when, through the Holy Ghost, Jesus would tell them plainly of His Father, the time when the Holy Ghost would make Jesus’ Word concerning the Father all light and bright and clear to them, so that it would cease to be a dark saying to them, but that they would be assured that they are God’s dear children, to whom the Father gladly gives all good things for Jesus’ sake. When this time came, they asked the Father in Jesus’ name.
And that time has come for you, too, O Christian! In Jesus’ Word, you have the Holy Ghost, who enlightens you. Through His unchanging promises, you are sure that you are God’s dear child. You pray in Jesus’ name, according to His will as revealed in His Word, but you do not want to ask God for what is not good, as those do who pray foolishly. You confide in God’s love in Christ Jesus and in His marvelous wisdom. And God hears your every prayer. And you “rejoice in the Lord” (Philippians 4:4). And to you and to all the children of God do the kind and comforting words of the Savior to His disciples apply: “And I say not unto you that I will pray the Father for you, for the Father Himself loveth you, because you have loved Me, and have believed that I came out from God” (John 16:26b-27).
Jesus says plainly in our text that the Father loves all of Jesus’ disciples because of their faith and love for His Son, the Son “in whom” God is “well pleased” (Matthew 3:17). By faith in Jesus, we poor sinners, who by nature are God’s enemies, become God’s children. As God’s children, the Father has the same love toward us as He does for His Son, hearing and answering our fervent prayers asked in the name, that is, in true faith and love for Christ. Indeed, the Lord Jesus has come forth from the Father, and has come into the world to atone for us, and to make of us God’s dear children. Again, He has left the world and gone to the Father to gather the fruits of such atonement from His heavenly Father, and for us, that is, to give us the blessed sonship of God, so that now, with all confidence, we ask the Father, who dearly loves us, for all good things. And He gives them to us, according to His “will” (I John 5:14), in His own time and in His own way. And we “rejoice” (John 16:22).
PRAYER – Lord God, dear heavenly Father, through Thy Son Thou hast made us Thy dear children, and told us that, in His name, we should ask Thee for all good things, and that Thou wilt hear us. Open our hearts more and more through Thy Holy Spirit, working through Thy Word, that, in full confidence, we may know Thee more and more to be our dear, loving Father, telling Thee all things, bringing all our burdens to Thee, asking Thee for all things in line with Thy revealed will, even as dear children ask their dear father. And then hear us, O Father, according to the firm assurance of Thy dear Son’s words and promises in the Scriptures, and at all times give us what Thy kind fatherly heart knows to be best for us; yes, do more, if it is Thy merciful will, than what we ask or even think, for Jesus’ sake. Amen.
On Him place thy reliance, if thou wouldst be secure;
His work thou must consider, if thine is to endure.
By anxious sighs and grieving and self-tormenting care,
God is not moved to giving; all must be gained by prayer.
Give, Lord, this consummation to all our heart’s distress;
our hands, our feet, e’er strengthen, in death our spirits bless.
Thy truth and Thy protection grant evermore, we pray,
and in celestial glory, shall end our destined way.
Hymn 520, vv. 2-12 (TLH)