Jesus was delighted – no, joyful – to extend the Hand of the Father in touching, restoring, and transforming peoples’ lives.
He shared with His disciples, “…truly, truly, I say to you, if you ask the Father for anything in My name, He will give it to you…until now you have asked for nothing in My name; ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be made full.” (John 16:23-24, NAS)
This Scripture, this incredible promise, never fails to amaze me. It’s one of those joy-keys we seem to skate right over. We ask in His Name…the Father gladly gives it in His Name…we bring His will to bear on earth…and our joy is made full…
There is a “pre-existing condition” however…and that makes all the difference. Just prior to this statement, Jesus had been explaining His relationship to those who believe in Him by using a vine-and-branches illustration. He summarized one of His themes by stating, “If you abide in Me and My Words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.” (John 15:7, NAS)
Abide. Jesus uses the word “abide” 8 times in eleven verses, treating it like a precious jewel as he repeatedly holds it up to the Light – His Light – exposing different facets of meaning each time.
Dictionary.reference.com defines “abide” as “to remain; continue; stay; to have one’s abode; dwell; reside; to continue in a particular condition, attitude, relationship.”
Although it creates a very long sentence, that would have Jesus saying: “If you remain, continue, stay, have your abode, dwell, reside, continue in an attitude and relationship in Me; and My Words remain, continue, stay, have their abode, dwell, reside, and continue in an attitude and relationship in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.”
Jesus makes it pretty clear that it’s “about me and Him.” And I’m guessing that One of us is more faithful…more constant…more persistent than the other. I’m willing to admit – my prayers rarely reflect the truth of John 15:7. But they should, and seeing the fruit of that promise is a quest worth pursuing with Him…in Him…encouraged by Him.
One of the corollary concepts to remaining, continuing, dwelling, residing….all have to do with time, consistency, and that sense of “being home.” The definitions of “abide” lead us into thinking comfort, relaxation, permanence. Jesus regularly went off by Himself to pray, to commune with His Father and sit by His Side. I’m betting Jesus enjoyed His prayerful times of “being at home with Dad,” for He fully knew that He had left His Father and that He would return to His Father. He knew this earth was not His true home.
That’s a reality most of us have yet to fully grasp. Paul wrote, “…all these died in faith…having confessed that they were strangers and exiles on the earth.” (Heb. 11:13, NAS) As they were….so are we. We are strangers and exiles on the earth.
But this world is staged to entice and distract, and seeks to be our all-consuming fire instead of the God to Whom that honor belongs. Our physical senses are more acutely tuned to the world around us, than are our spiritual senses to the spiritual realm. In Mark 1:35, it states, “…Jesus got up, left the house, and went away to a secluded place, and was praying there…”(NAS). Luke also records, “Jesus, Himself, would often slip into the wilderness and pray.” (Luke 5:16) Jesus knew the importance of fine-tuning His spiritual senses. He remained…continued…dwelt, residing with the Father, blocking out the temporal enticements to pursue the eternal.
Jesus was abiding. And it is in this kind of abiding that Jesus states, that our “joy made be made full.”