“And in that day you shall ask me nothing. Verily, Verily, I say unto you, ‘Whatsoever you shall ask the Father in My name, He will give it to you.” John 16:23
The more I try to learn another language, the more I learn that words are important. You can’t always take them at “face value.” Sometimes you have to dig into things to find out what they really mean. Hmmm. Sometimes it’s the same with people and really getting to know their hearts. So, I suppose it’s the same with really getting to know Your heart, Lord. So, I want to make sure that I understand the heart of what You have shared with me in Your Word. And I need You to give me the understanding. But I need to make the commitment myself to take the extra time to check things out and to dig for the treasure.
Here we go from what seems one extreme to another. First we’ll not ask anything and then whatever we ask, we’ll get. What? When is that day? And what are we really talking about here?
“In that day” is the day when the disciples’ sorrow would be turned to joy. That would be when You are resurrected and reappear after Your crucifixion. This would be the imparting of the Holy Spirit. Because, in that day, when all this comes to pass, the way the disciples had been asking will take a drastic change. Because the “asking” in this sentence is a totally different word than the “ask” in the next sentence.
How had the disciples been asking? This is the Greek word “erotao.” It means to ask a question. It can also mean to interrogate or to beg. But it doesn’t mean to demand. Which is going to be important later. According to a study on these words at http://www.godspeak.org, erotao is never used in relation to prayer. In other words, praying is more than just asking God questions. Erotao is more like enquiring.
Again, erotao means “to question.” “Back in Jesus’ day, when young Jewish students would study in synagogue; training was done through asking questions. The belief of the day was to let the person asking the initial question be able to come up with their own answer instead of just being told the answer, thus drawing their own conclusion and reaffirming their own belief. (www.gointernship.tv)
Erotao is requesting equal to equal. It’s the idea of friend to friend, superior to superior. Erotao has us asking on equal terms. It’s the idea of the Pharisees or the disciples asking Jesus questions man to man. And that’s the point. As long as I don’t really understand who You are, Lord, I just ask You questions like I ask anyone else. But You are saying here, that when our joy is made full, when we see You for who You really are, then we will stop asking superficially. We’ll stop asking to understand just the facts. Our whole reason and relationship in asking and what we ask and how we ask will be transformed. We will stop “asking” You and start “asking” You. Sometimes, English just doesn’t cut it, does it?
“Pay attention here. Pay attention here. This is important stuff. I’m telling you, when the Holy Spirit comes, when You see me and understand really what I came to do and who I am, whatever You ask, whatever promise You call back forth from me in that knowledge, You will have it because the Father will make His Word true for You.” Here the word for “ask” is “aiteo.” And it doesn’t just mean to ask a question. It’s the idea of petition and it is the idea of an inferior petitioning to a superior. I have to realize this. Jesus, you are not my equal. Jesus, you were not just a man. You are my friend, now, but You are never only my friend. You will always be my Friend. You are the Friend I don’t deserve but the Friend who was gracious enough to have me. But You are always my God. That’s the point of “aiteo.”
“Aiteo” takes asking to a deeper level. According to Pastor Rob Gore it means, “To make a demand upon something due.” He goes on to explain, “He told us we must make a demand upon something due, not by trying to talk God into doing something for us.” Now, he’s not the only one who shared this idea. Donald Mann said that “aiteo” “means to ask or demand of one in authority because the one made a promise based on requirements, and now the requirements have been met so the one is to give the desired promise. It also includes an intensity or focus in your desire to see the request fulfilled.” It’s like You are saying, “Now that You know Me, You know My will. Don’t just ask questions about it. You know the answers. Now ask Me to do all that I said I would. Now it’s Your turn to know and fulfill my will in You. Come to me in confidence in Me and I will bring My words to pass in You. Ask me and depend on it and I will do what I said, every last word of it!”
Wow! You are promising that the Father will give us the promises You have made to us. He will bring what You said and promised to pass. This is absolutely beneficial for me to understand this and to seek it and to bring it to pass in my life. Your character is at stake here. You are saying, “Stop just asking questions and ask me to do what I said. I will make Myself manifest. I will always do what I said. I will always Be who I am. Demand it of Me because that’s what I want of You. Now You can know Me intimately enough to know how to depend upon Me. This is Your inheritance. I AM YOUR INHERITANCE! Crave Me. Desire Me. Require Me to be who I AM. Know Me. Show that You know me by Your total trust and dependence. Put Me in charge and put Me to the test. That’s how I’m glorified because I will show Myself True.”
You will give Your promises. “Didomi” is the Greek word. You don’t just give, You give to my advantage. You bestow, grant, supply my needs, deliver, care for me, administer, endue, give forth from Yourself profusely. You appoint, give me to God as His own, receive me, save me (continually), care for my interests. You give me Jesus to follow as my Leader and Master. You care for my interests. You commission me and so much more. This is all part of what You give me. You give me You. And You flow forth from me, well, when I keep asking and relying and seeking and knowing and expecting Your promises.
This is the Good News. That day has come! Jesus was sacrificed for me and for you. He gave His life so that we could have real life, a fulfilled life in Him. He rose again because of who He is. He fulfilled every promise and is still fulfilling them because He is Truth. The Holy Spirit has come and when I entrust all of my being to Him and realize my desperate need for Jesus, He transforms me and the way I seek God. I don’t just want answers to questions any more. I want Jesus. I want to know Him. I want to walk with Him. I want to fulfill His will. I want what He wants. And now I know it. And He tells me He wants me to ask it of Him, to expect to see it fulfilled in my life and the lives around me. His whole story is about forever giving of Himself to us. I can forever receive Him and be made more like Him. That’s my expectation and what I will boldly ask of Him. Because He told me I can be confident of this very thing!
Paul reminds us that we can truly be confident of this very thing, “that He which has begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ…And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment; that you may approve things that are excellent; that you may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ; being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ unto the glory and praise of God.” (Philippians 1: 6,9-11)
“In that day…” Well, Lord, that day has come. It’s still yet to come for some people, that day when they surrender to You and stop asking questions and ask for You and Your promises. That day that questions turn into expectations is a glorious day! And my prayer for me, is that You will continually lead me into Truth as I spend intimate time with You in Your Word and as I expect You to fulfill Your Word and Truth in me. And I don’t want to just ask for it. I want to walk as though I’m expecting it. I want to live a life based on faith and not sight. I want to live a life based on what I know of You and let that trump my expectations of the world. And when the world all shouts at me, “You can’t do that!” I want to boldy trust in You and say, “My God enables me because He can!”