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I am committed to a life provoking the invasion of The Coming Kingdom through: human service, ecstatic prayer, halakhic observation, community building, nurturing hope, and drawing down abiding faith...

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

In My Name

“Amain, amain, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in my name he will give you” (Yohanan 16:23).

How could Yeshua say that anything that was asked in his name would be answered in the affirmative? What an extreme and out of balance statement to make! He doesn't address the issue of humans selfish motivations...He doesn't address the issue of human desire for control...He doesn't address the fact that even his own prayer to the Father in Gethsemane wouldn't be answered. Didn't he know the spiritual and theological dilemmas that would arise from the words he spoke to his friends that night? My guess is that he didn't care, and I am fairly certain Yohanan didn't either. In all of Yeshua's life, death, and resurrection there was only one thing he couldn't do for us-the most important thing he asked of us: That we would believe in him and within that faith be given the authority to do what he did. He was not able to make the world trust him, love him, or obey him. Some did, but even those who tried their hardest experienced failure. This is the key to Yeshua’s most unbelievable promise: Asking in his name means receiving him fully. Receiving Yeshua is knowing and accepting Him. Asking in his name means asking for what is in accordance with his will, his purposes. In this way we align ourselves with who he is and all that we ask will be given.

It is the responsibility of Yeshua's body, the people of God, to live according to his promises. To quote Pastor Bill Johnson, "His standard is the only one worth aiming for." Living in this frame of mind is not so easy, nor is it enough to protect us from the suffering of the world. This is another common misconception of Yeshua’s promise. Yeshua tells his talmidim, "You will weep and mourn but the world will be joyful. You will be grieved but your grief will turn to joy" (Yohanan 16:20, Barnstone). Yeshua does not promise a life without pain, but he does promise: dawn after night, birth after labor pain, and life after death.

What is the prerequisite for the promise? That we receive it with love and that we share it with others. He asks nothing else of us. As a devoted Jew speaking to other devoted Jews there would be a problem with this answer. "We have to observe Torah"...this is True. As a devoted follower of Yeshua speaking to other followers of Yeshua there would a problem with this answer: "We have to repent of our sins, declare his name, and be baptized"...this is True. While personal holiness is a most exquisite goal it is not a pre-requisite; it is a RESPONSE. We keep to God's standards of holiness as a response to his love that was so profoundly given to us through Yeshua. Nearly 2,000 years ago a group of men who were about to abandon the Son of God only hours later to were told of their betrayal before they even knew and were also told: "In the world you have pain. Courage. I have conquered the world" (Yohanan 16:33, Barnstone). A love that is expressed this undeservedly is the only kind of love congruent with the life giving power it is meant to unleash. It is a love that demands our acceptance and use of every single treasure given us: The gift to observe His laws, the gift to repent of our sins, the gift to proclaim his name, and the gift to heal the sick and raise the dead.

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