John 16:23-33 (CSB) 23 “…Truly I tell you, anything you ask the Father in my name, he will give you. 24 Until now you have asked for nothing in my name. Ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be complete. 25 “I have spoken these things to you in figures of speech. A time is coming when I will no longer speak to you in figures, but I will tell you plainly about the Father. 26 On that day you will ask in my name, and I am not telling you that I will ask the Father on your behalf. 27 For the Father himself loves you, because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God. 28 I came from the Father and have come into the world. Again, I am leaving the world and going to the Father.” 29 His disciples said, “Look, now you’re speaking plainly and not using any figurative language. 30 Now we know that you know everything and don’t need anyone to question you. By this we believe that you came from God.” 31 Jesus responded to them, “Do you now believe? 32 Indeed, an hour is coming, and has come, when each of you will be scattered to his own home, and you will leave me alone. Yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me. 33 I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. You will have suffering in this world. Be courageous! I have conquered the world.”
This is one of my favorite stretches of Scripture in the whole Bible. Perhaps because of the fact that great joy can be had in the midst of great grief, and that is exactly what is happening for Jesus’ disciples right now. Perhaps because it’s good for me to know that the trouble and challenges of my life are part of God’s good for me and God actually loves me and invites me to ask him for all that represents Jesus’ good for me and us and he will do it, even in the midst of hardship. Joy in the midst of grief. I’m thankful for that.
They are going to leave Jesus alone and be scattered to their homes. Hard times are on the horizon. Jesus has told them beforehand so that when it comes they won’t be taken off guard.
He’s been clear on that.
And Jesus gives them this glorious nugget of joy in the middle of it all. One of the innumerable goods that Jesus’ suffering will produce for his people is rich access to the Father. Note too that this access is not merely mediated through Jesus like he has to intercept us to insulate us from God who just barely tolerates us because of Jesus. NO!
Jesus says that he’s not talking about asking the Father for us. We will get to ask the Father directly for Jesus’ things (which includes all our good and that is what it means to pray in Jesus’ name) because the Father loves us. Do you hear that?
In Jesus, the Father loves us and invites us to come and ask him for the kingdom.
Listen, our access to God through Jesus is direct and loaded with innumerable glory for God and good for us.
Jesus’ suffering is going to purchase all that for us. So, why don’t we actually pray like it? Prayerlessness is powerlessness. Another blog for another day.
For now, we journey to the cross, and the joy of what Jesus will purchase for himself and us mediates the grief of the cross, so we understand that joy in the midst of grief is part of God’s good for us.
Live in it as we walk to the cross, and relish that Jesus has mediated our grief with his joy and thus won a great peace in the midst of the storm for us.