I want a house in the Caribbean with a boat on a private dock. If I had a genie in a bottle, this is likely one of the things I would wish for. (Let’s be honest – decades of Minnesota winters have lost their charm for me.) This passage says if I ask anything of God in Jesus’ name, God will give it. Or does it?
This text really isn’t about asking and getting. This is a story of Jesus – of his death and resurrection. The disciples don’t know it yet, but soon they will lose him. The loss will be nearly unbearable. But behind the enormous grief is a promise of something completely unpredictable. The disciples – all of creation, in fact – will be reunited with Jesus. Sounds impossible? Here’s where the promise is made. If the disciples were to ask God in Jesus’ name for something as ridiculously unattainable as a reunion with the dead, God would grant it. This is not an open invitation to ask God for anything – it is a promise that with God nothing is impossible – it is a promise that Jesus will be with us forever.
“A little while, and you will no longer see me, and again a little while, and you will see me.” Then some of his disciples said to one another, “What does he mean by saying to us, ‘A little while, and you will no longer see me, and again a little while, and you will see me’; and ‘Because I am going to the Father’?” They said, “What does he mean by this ‘a little while’? We do not know what he is talking about.” Jesus knew that they wanted to ask him, so he said to them, “Are you discussing among yourselves what I meant when I said, ‘A little while, and you will no longer see me, and again a little while, and you will see me’? Very truly, I tell you, you will weep and mourn, but the world will rejoice; you will have pain, but your pain will turn into joy. When a woman is in labor, she has pain, because her hour has come. But when her child is born, she no longer remembers the anguish because of the joy of having brought a human being into the world. So you have pain now; but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you.
On that day you will ask nothing of me. Very truly, I tell you, if you ask anything of the Father in my name, he will give it to you. Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be complete.