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“Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves. I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.” (John 14:11-14)
As you read through the Bible, every once in awhile you find a promise like the one Jesus gives to His disciples in John 14:11-14 that demands explanation. In the midst of giving a departing discourse to His disciples before His arrest and crucifixion, Jesus promises that those who have faith in Him will do even greater things than what He has been doing. He also promises that He will do whatever they ask in His name, because He will have ascended to the Father’s presence, with authority over everything.
With promises as stunning as these, we are left with a few choices. We can dismiss these promises as unrealistic or mistakes. We can explain Jesus’ words away until they are stripped of their power. Or we can take Jesus at His word and ask ourselves what it looks like to have faith in Jesus and what it means to ask in His name. I don’t know about you, but I want to know what Jesus meant in John 14. More than that, I want to actually see this promise fulfilled in my life!
So, what does it mean to have faith in Jesus? And what does it mean to ask in His name? Certainly it does NOT mean tacking on “in Jesus’ name” at the end of whatever we pray. Nor is “in Jesus’ name” some kind of magic phrase by which we can get whatever we want. I believe that first and foremost, praying in Jesus’ name means recognizing that “no one comes to the Father except through me,” as Jesus said in John 14:6. Praying in Jesus’ name is praying with the understanding that the only reason we can approach God is because Jesus has made a way for us to come boldly to the throne through His death and resurrection (Hebrews 4:15-16). Our faith and confidence are not in our own righteousness or in the words we speak, but in Jesus.
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