Gospel of John 14: 8-13 (NIV)
8 Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.”
9 Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you are not just my own. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. 11 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. 12 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. 13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father.”
Not once but twice in the space of a few sentences Jesus explained to his disciples, “I am in the Father, and the Father is in me.” I do not think he was commanding his disciples to believe this. He was urging them to see this to be the truth of the relationship between the Father and the Son. He wanted them to realise that everything that they witnessed was the Father, living in Jesus, doing the Father’s work.
What a magnificent goal to which every follower of Jesus should aspire! The Father, living in you, in me, is doing his work! Jesus made it clear to his disciples and makes it clear to us the means by which this may be achieved and the basis on which we can believe this to be the case.
“Anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing,” he said. And then: “He (or she) will do even greater things than these …”
Greater things than Jesus himself was doing! On what basis might we believe this to be possible? Jesus said, “I will do whatever you ask in my name,” – but note: it has to be asked in the name of Jesus. What does asking in the name of Jesus mean? That for which we ask is to be according to the name and nature of Jesus, of who he really is: Son of man, Son of God. This means that it is asked not for personal gain or for self-centred reasons but is asked because we understand this is what the Lord desires and is in accord with his perfect will.
And the reason why Jesus would do whatever we ask in his name is simple; it is so that “the Son may bring glory to the Father.”
Is this currently our own personal and deeply held motive for asking through prayer? Do we ask, not for our own benefit, but so that the response to our request will bring glory to God?
Recall the prayers offered at the commencement of every Parliamentary sitting day:
It is instructive to note that the fathers of our Parliament did put the advancement of the glory of God ahead of the true welfare of the people of Australia. So should we. In fact, we should at all times make the amplification of God’s glory our first priority and then allow all else to fall into place.
Direct and prosper all that we undertake, Lord, to the advancement of your glory.
Drawn from a talk delivered 27 May 2014