“Truly, truly, I say to you, if you ask the Father for anything, He will give it to you in My name. Until now, you have asked for nothing in My name; ask and you shall receive, that your joy may be made full. These things I have spoken to you in figurative language; an hour is coming, when I will speak no more to you in figurative language, but will tell you plainly of the Father. In that day you will ask in My name; and I do not say to you that I will request the Father on your behalf; for the Father Himself loves you, because you have loved Me, and have believed that I came forth from the Father” (Jn 16:23-27).
Throughout the gospel of John, Jesus presents Himself as the revealer of the Father. “If you have seen Me, you have seen the Father” (Jn 14:9). “I and the Father are one” (Jn 10:30). “The Father abiding in Me does His works” (Jn 14:10). “I can do nothing on My own initiative … but only the will of Him who sent Me” (Jn 5:30).
Now Jesus is revealing to His disciples that His direct line to the Father is passing to them. “In that day” (vs 23) – that is, “when I have come back from the dead and you know the promise of My indwelling Spirit is coming – you will have direct access to the Father.” To understand why they have this access, we jump to the end of the passage and another “in that day” (vs 26).
Here in verse 26, Jesus says that He will not be making the request on their behalf, but they will go directly to the Father with their petitions. Why? Because they will now have a special love relationship with the Father. And because they have loved and believed in the One whom the Father has sent, they “received the right to become children of God” (Jn 1:12). And as children, they have direct access to the Father with the confidence that He welcomes and gladly attends to their requests.
All of this flows from the Father’s love for His children. When Jesus says, “the Father Himself loves you” (vs 27), the disciples are not just sharing in God’s general love for the world (Jn 3:16). They will experience a new and special Father-child love that comes from the heart of God.
But Jesus is not out of the picture. In this passage alone, we see … “ask in My name” … “He will give it to you in My name” … “previously, you have asked nothing in My name”.
I believe asking in Jesus’ name is asking based upon Christ’s abiding presence in you. Jesus had taught His disciples to pray to the Father (the Lord’s prayer of Matthew 6:9-13). But praying in Jesus’ name is a new concept because the abiding and indwelling presence of Jesus, to come in the form of the Holy Spirit after Christ’s departure, is a new arrangement; a new avenue of connection to God. And a new basis of their prayers to the Father.
And finally, tucked in the middle of this passage is “you shall receive, that your joy may be made full” (vs 24). As F.F. Bruce summarizes in his commentary on John 16, “Access to the Father in Jesus’ name was part of the joy which was promised in place of their present sorrow; it would, indeed, bring that joy to completion.”