And whatever you shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.…
I. WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?
1. To obtain anything in the name of another supposes that your own name is an insufficient warrant. In the negotiation by which you secure it, your own personality is lost altogether. Thus an ambassador personifies the country he represents; he has no personal recognition when he sits in the councils of foreign potentates. So in familiar life we invest a subordinate agent with our own reputation and credit.
2. But in neither of these senses do we make mention of the name of Christ in our prayers. We may be said, it is true, to traffic with another's credit, and represent the authority of a sovereign in some conditions of intercourse with God; but praying in the name of Jesus implies a closer union than that of service. "If ye shall ask the Father (see chap. John 20:17). Prayer rises from outside, knocking into the tender confidences of family intercourse. We ask in the name of Christ because we have put on that name as a woman by marriage puts on the name of her husband, and with it his rank and property. When she asks anything in the husband's name she brings with her whatever that name merits or can demand. To deny her is to deny him, In the Scriptures our union with Christ is described by marriage. This is foreshadowed by the prophets (Isaiah 54:5; Isaiah 62:5), and God's name is used as an argument of deprecation as if somehow that name were bound up with the fate of His people (Jeremiah 14:21; Joshua 7:9; Ezekiel 36:22, 23). In Matthew 9:15, Christ accepts all this, and in His marriage parables. And so St. Paul (Ephesians 5:25-32), and St. John (Revelation 19:6-9; Revelation 21:2-9). Let the light of these statements shine on the text. In communion with the Father we have lost our name. He found us nameless, for we had not a name of any honourable distinction to lose or merge. The Saviour describes our condition as lost — without name, home, repute. He allured us back (Isaiah 62:2), and gave us His own name, and our miserable name was hidden and lost in the brightness of Christ. That name is ours, its renown and the vast treasures of grace procurable by its warrant (1 Corinthians 3:23).
II. THE POWER OF PRAYER MUST BE PROPORTIONED TO OUR ABSORPTION IN CHRIST.
1. It is the conscious weight of His name that gives its energy to faith. When that name is not predominant, we naturally dwell on our own unworthiness, etc., which produces distrust — the fatal sickness of prayer. Distrust blocks the way up to God, and no prayer can pass to Him (James 1:5-7). Not that no prayer can prosper unless faith be perfect, for then how could we pray for faith at all; but the chief condition of our receiving is a belief that Christ will do it (Mark 11:24). It is the name of Christ, and that only, that gives us such a confidence. With His name in our hands, or rather written on the covenant register of our love, we can no more fail with the Father than He can. When we pray in His name it is as if He prayed.
2. This nearness of fellowship with Christ explains the anything" of the text. It is not supposed that such a licence will be abused by caprice. The prayer of a depending love to a conferring love will interpret it by the extent of its wants, and the right it is permitted to assume.
3. The endearments of such a state are not sustained by great services. Whatever concerns you concerns Him; if in itself it be a trifle, it is not a trifle to Him if it affects you.
(E. E. Jenkins, LL. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.