I spoke this morning on John 14:12-14. Of course these words of Jesus all come in a flowing stream, yet here at Redeemer we’re taking them very slowly, since it seems that in each Jesus-sentence there is a universe of meaning.
For example, John 14:13-14: Jesus says, “I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.” How are we to understand these words? Here are some bullet-points that I shared this morning.
1) One must understand what Jesus is talking about, and the import of it, when he says “I am in the Father and the Father is in me.” This is trinitarian stuff, the perichoretic union of mutual indwelling and interpenetrating and co-inhering. Peri-choresis means: to dance in a circle (from “peri'” [around], and “choresis” [dance; cf. Plato’s use of this word as “cosmic dance” in the Timaeus]. In the Godhead we have the Big Dance.
2) What Jesus says, and what Jesus does, is explained by the perichoretic union of Father, Son, and Spirit.
3) Jesus invites “anyone,” who puts their faith in him, to the Big Dance. This is huge. David Crump of Calvin College states it hugeness when he writes: “Divine union is at the heart of the Gospel of John. Jesus is the one sent from the Father to lead his people into a provocative, new terrain of perichoretic union with God.” (slightly edited by me) The Father comes to make his home in us. Jesus is the vine, the Father is the gardener, and we are the branches. Now what we say and what we do comes from unity with the Godhead.
4) Understand points 1-3 above, and you will understand prayer as: talking with the Godhead about what we are doing together. Real Prayer comes out of the Big Dance. N. T. Wright, in his commentary on John, writes: “Praying ‘in Jesus’ name’, then, means that, as we get to know who Jesus is, so we find ourselves drawn into his life and love and sense of purpose. We will then begin to see what needs doing, what we should be aiming at within our sphere of possibilities, and what resources we need to do it. When we then ask, it will be ‘in Jesus’ name’, and to his glory; and, through that, to the glory of the father himself (verse 13). But, when all this is understood, we shouldn’t go soft on that marvelous word anything. He said it, and he means it.” (64)