John 16:23
And in that day you shall ask me nothing. Truly, truly, I say to you, Whatever you shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you.
Jump to: AlfordBarnesBengelBensonBICalvinCambridgeChrysostomClarkeDarbyEllicottExpositor'sExp DctExp GrkGaebeleinGSBGillGrayHaydockHastingsHomileticsICCJFBKellyKJTLangeMacLarenMHCMHCWMeyerParkerPNTPoolePulpitSermonSCOTeedTTBVWSWESTSK
(23) And in that day ye shall ask me nothing.—Comp. Acts 1:6. The time here referred to is, as we have seen (John 16:16), the time of the gift of the Paraclete, who shall fully illumine them, so that they shall not need to ask the meaning of new thoughts and words as they have done hitherto. (Comp., e.g., the certain knowledge of Peter’s speech in Acts 2. with the misunderstandings of these last days of the Lord’s ministry.)

Verily, verily, I say unto you.—Comp. John 1:51. As we have so often found, these words precede a truth of -weighty import.

Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you.—The more probable reading is, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father, He will give it you in My name. The thought is that the prayer is offered in Christ’s name (comp. Note on John 14:13, and in this context John 16:24), and that the answer to every such prayer is in virtue of His name. The fact that we pray in His name makes it certain that the prayer will be answered. The fact that the prayer is answered is proof that it was in Christ’s name.



John 16:23 - John 16:24

Our Lord here sums up the prerogatives and privileges of His servants in the day that was about to dawn and to last till He came again. There is nothing absolutely new in the words; substantially the promises contained in them have appeared in former parts of these discourses under somewhat different aspects and connections. But our Lord brings them together here, in this condensed repetition, in order that the scattered rays, being thus focussed, may have more power to illuminate with certitude, and to warm into hope. ‘Ye shall ask Me nothing. . .. Ask and ye shall receive. . .. Your joy shall be full.’ These are the jewels which He sets in a cluster, the juxtaposition making each brighter, and gives to us for a parting keepsake.

Now it is to be noticed that the two askings which are spoken of here are expressed by different words in the Greek. Our English word ‘ask’ means two things, either to question or to request; to ask in the sense of interrogating, in order to get information and teaching, or in the sense of beseeching, in order to get gifts. In the former sense the word is employed in the first clause of my text, with distinct reference to the disciples’ desire, a moment or two before, to ask Him a very foolish question; and in the second sense it is employed in the central portion of my text.

So, then, there are three things here as the marks of the Christian life all through the ages: the cessation of the ignorant questions addressed to a present Christ; the satisfaction of desires; and the perfecting of joy. These are the characteristics of a true Christian life. My brother, are they in any degree the characteristics of yours?

I. Note then, first, the end of questionings.

‘In that day ye shall ask Me nothing,’ and do not you think that when the disciples heard that, they would be tempted to say, ‘Then what in all the world are we to do?’ To them the thought that He was not to be at their sides any longer, for them to go to with their difficulties, must have seemed despair rather than advance; but in Christ’s eyes it was progress. He tells them and us that we gain by losing Him, and are better off than they were, precisely because He does not any longer stand at our sides for us to question. It is better for a boy to puzzle out the meaning of a Latin book by his own brains and the help of a dictionary than it is lazily to use an interlinear translation. And, though we do not always feel it, and are often tempted to think how blessed it would be if we had an infallible Teacher visible here at our sides, it is a great deal better for us that we have not, and it is a step in advance that He has gone away. Many eager and honest Christian souls, hungering after certainty and rest, have cast themselves in these latter days into the arms of an infallible Church. I doubt whether any such questioning mind has found what it sought; and I am sure that it has taken a step downwards, in passing from the spiritual guidance realised by our own honest industry and earnest use of the materials supplied to us in Christ’s word, to any external authority which comes to us to save us the trouble of thinking, and to confirm to us truth which we have not made our own by search and effort. We gain by losing the visible Christ; and He was proclaiming progress and not retrogression, when He said: ‘In that day ye shall ask Me no more questions.’

For what have we instead? We have two things: a completed revelation, and an inward Teacher.

We have a completed revelation. Great and wonderful and unspeakably precious as were and are the words of Jesus Christ, His deeds are far more. The death of Christ has told us things that Christ before His death could not tell. The resurrection of Christ has cast light upon all the darkest places of man’s destiny which Christ, before His resurrection, could not by any words so illuminate. The ascension of Christ has opened doors for thought, for faith, for hope, which were fast closed, notwithstanding all His teachings, until He had burst them asunder and passed to His throne. And the facts which are substituted for the bodily presence of Jesus with His disciples tell us a great deal more than they could ever have drawn from Him by questionings, however persistent and however wisely directed. We have a completed revelation, and therefore we need ‘ask Him nothing.’

And we have a divine Spirit that will come to us if we will, and teach us by means of blessing the exercise of our own faculties, and guiding us, not, indeed, into the uniform perception of the intellectual aspects of Christian truth, but into the apprehension and the loving possession, as a power in our lives, of all the truth that we need to mould our characters and to raise us to the likeness of Himself.

Only, brother! let us remember what such a method of teaching demands from us. It needs that we honestly use the revelation that is given us; it needs that we loyally, lovingly, trustfully, submit ourselves to the teaching of that Spirit who will dwell in us; it needs that we bring our lives up to the height of our present knowledge, and make everything that we know a factor in shaping what we do and what we are. If thus we will to do His will, ‘we shall know of the doctrine’; if thus we yield ourselves to the divine Spirit, we shall be taught the practical bearings of all essential truth; and if thus we ponder the facts and principles that are enshrined in Christ’s life, and the Apostolic commentary on them, as preserved for us in the Scripture, we shall not need to envy those that could go to Him with their questions, for He will come to us with His all-satisfying answers.

Ah! but you say experience does not verify these promises. Look at a divided Christendom; look at my own difficulties of knowing what I am to believe and to think. Well, as for a divided Christendom, saintly souls are all of one Church, and however they may formulate the intellectual aspects of their creed, when they come to pray, they say the same things. Roman Catholic and Protestant, and Quaker and Churchman, and Calvinist and Arminian, and Greek and Latin Christians-all contribute to the hymn-book of every sect; and we all sing their songs. So the divisions are like the surface cracks on a dry field, and a few inches down there is continuity. As for the difficulty of knowing what I am to believe and think about controverted questions, no doubt there will remain many gaps in the circle of our knowledge; no doubt there will be much left obscure and unanswered; but if we will keep ourselves near the Master, and use honestly and diligently the helps that He gives us-the outward help in the Word, and the inward help in His teaching Spirit-we shall not ‘walk in darkness,’ but shall have light enough given to be to us ‘the Light of Life.’

Brother, keep close to Christ, and Christ-present though absent- will teach you.

II. Secondly, satisfied desires.

This second great promise of my text, introduced again by the solemn affirmation, ‘Verily, verily, I say unto you,’ substantially appeared in a former part of these discourses with a very significant difference. ‘Whatsoever ye shall ask in My name that will I do.’ ‘If ye shall ask anything in My name I will do it.’ There Christ presented Himself as the Answerer of the petitions, because His more immediate purpose was to set forth His going to the Father as His elevation to a yet loftier position. Here, on the other hand, He sets forth the Father as the Answerer of the petitions, because His purpose is to point away from undue dependence on His own corporeal presence. But the fact that He thus, as occasion requires, substitutes the one form of speech for the other, and indifferently represents the same actions as being done by Himself and by the Father in heaven, carries with it large teachings which I do not dwell upon now. Only I would ask you to consider how much is involved in that fact, that, as a matter of course, and without explanation of the difference, our Lord alternates the two forms, and sometimes says, ‘I will do it,’ and sometimes says, ‘The Father will do it.’ Does it not point to that great and blessed truth, ‘Whatsoever thing the Father doeth, that also doeth the Son likewise?’

But passing from that, let me ask you to note very carefully the limitation, which is here given to the broad universality of the declaration that desires shall be satisfied. ‘If ye shall ask anything in My name’; there is the definition of Christian prayer. And what does it mean? Is a prayer, which from the beginning to the end is reeking with self-will, hallowed because we say, as a kind of charm at the end of it, ‘For Christ’s sake. Amen’? Is that praying in Christ’s name? Surely not! What is the ‘name’ of Christ? His whole revealed character. So these disciples could not pray in His name ‘hitherto,’ because His character was not all revealed. Therefore, to pray in His name is to pray, recognising what He is, as revealed in His life and death and resurrection and ascension, and to base all our dependence of acceptance of our prayers upon that revealed character. Is that all? Are any kind of wishes, which are presented in dependence upon Christ as our only Hope and Channel of divine blessing, certain to be fulfilled? Certainly not. To pray ‘in My name’ means yet more than that. It means not only to pray in dependence upon Christ as our only Ground of hope and Source of acceptance and God’s only Channel of blessing, but it means exactly what the same phrase means when it is applied to us. If I say that I am doing something in your name, that means on your behalf, as your representative, as your organ, and to express your mind and will. And if we pray in Christ’s name, that implies, not only our dependence upon His merit and work, but also the harmony of our wills with His will, and that our requests are not merely the hot products of our own selfishness, but are the calm issues of communion with Him. Thus to pray requires the suppression of self. Heathen prayer, if there be such a thing, is the violent effort to make God will what I wish. Christian prayer is the submissive effort to make my wish what God wills, and that is to pray in Christ’s name.

My brother! do we construct our prayers thus? Do we try to bring our desires into harmony with Him, before we venture to express them? Do we go to His footstool to pour out petulant, blind, passionate, un-sanctified wishes after questionable and contingent good, or do we wait until He fills our spirits with longings after what it must be His desire to give, and then breathe out those desires caught from His own heart, and echoing His own will? Ah! The discipline that is wanted to make men pray in Christ’s name is little understood by multitudes amongst us.

Notice how certain such prayer is of being answered. Of course, if it is in harmony with the will of God, it is sure not to be offered in vain. Our Revised Version makes a slight alteration in the order of the words in the first clause of this promise by reading, ‘If ye ask anything of the Father He will give it you in My name.’ God’s gifts come down through the same channel through which our prayer goes up. We ask in the name of Christ, and get our answers in the name of Christ.

But, whether that be the true collocation of ideas or not, mark the plain principle here, that only desires which are in harmony with the divine will are sure of being satisfied. What is a bad thing for a child cannot be a good thing for a man. What is a foolish and wicked thing for a father down here to do cannot be a kind and a wise thing for the Father in the heavens to do. If you wish to spoil your child you say, ‘What do you want, my dear? tell me and you shall have it.’ And if God were saying anything like that to us, through the lips of Jesus Christ His Son, in the text, it would be no blessing, but a curse. He knows a great deal better what is good for us; and so He says: ‘Bring your wishes into line with My purpose, and then you will get them’; ‘Delight thyself in the Lord, and He will give thee the desires of thine heart.’ If you want God most you will be sure to get Him; if your heart’s desires are after Him, your heart’s desires will be satisfied. ‘The young lions do roar and suffer hunger.’ That is the world’s way of getting good; fighting and striving and snarling, and forcibly seeking to grasp, and there is hunger after all. There is a better way than that. Instead of striving and struggling to snatch and to keep a perishable and questionable portion, let us wait upon God and quiet our hearts, stilling them into the temper of communion and conformity with Him, and we shall not ask in vain.

He who prays in Christ’s name must pray Christ’s prayer, ‘Not My will, but Thine be done.’ And then, though many wishes may be unanswered, and many weak petitions unfulfilled, and many desires unsatisfied, the essential spirit of the prayer will be answered, and, His will being done in us and on us, our wishes will acquiesce in it and desire nothing besides. To him who can thus pray in Christ’s name in the deepest sense, and after Christ’s pattern, every door in God’s treasure-house flies open, and he may take as much of the treasure as he desires. The Master bends lovingly over such a soul, and looks him in the eyes, and with outstretched hand says, ‘What wilt thou that I should do unto thee? Be it unto thee even as thou wilt.’

III. Lastly, the perfect joy which follows upon these two.

‘That your joy may be fulfilled.’ Again we have a recurrence of a promise that has appeared in another connection in an earlier part of this discourse; but the connection here is worthy of notice. The promise is of joy that comes from the satisfaction of meek desires in unison with Christ’s will. Is it possible then, that, amidst all the ups and downs, the changes and the sorrows of this fluctuating, tempest-tossed life of ours we may have a deep and stable joy? ‘That your joy may be full,’ says my text, or ‘fulfilled,’ like some jewelled, golden cup charged to the very brim with rich and quickening wine, so that there is no room for a drop more. Can it be that ever, in this world, men shall be happy up to the very limits of their capacity? Was anybody ever so blessed that he could not be more so? Was your cup ever so full that there was no room for another drop in it? Jesus Christ says that it may be so, and He tells us how it may be so. Bring your desires into harmony with God’s, and you will have none unsatisfied amongst them; and so you will be blessed to the full; and though sorrow comes, as of course it will come, still you may be blessed. There is no contradiction between the presence of this deep, central joy and a surface and circumference of sorrow. Rather we need the surrounding sorrow, to concentrate, and so to intensify, the central joy in God. There are some flowers which only blow in the night; and white blossoms are visible with startling plainness in the twilight, when all the flaunting purples and reds are hid. We do not know the depth, the preciousness, the power of the ‘joy of the Lord,’ until we have felt it shining in our hearts in the midst of the thick darkness of earthly sorrow, and bringing life into the very death of our human delights. It may be ours on the conditions that my text describes.

My dear friends! there are only two courses before us. Either we must have a life with superficial, transitory, incomplete gladness, and an aching centre of vacuity and pain, or we may have a life which, in its outward aspects and superficial appearance, has much about it that is sad and trying, but down in the heart of it is calm and joyful. Which of the two do you deem best, a superficial gladness and a rooted sorrow, or a superficial sorrow and a central joy? ‘Even in laughter the heart is sorrowful, and the end of that mirth is heaviness.’ But, on the other hand, the ‘ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads. They shall obtain joy and gladness; and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.’John 16:23-24. In that day ye shall ask me nothing Εμε ουκ ερωτησετε ουδεν, you shall not inquire any thing of me, or, as Dr. Campbell renders it, you will put no questions to me. That is, when I have sent the Holy Spirit to lead you into all truth, you shall have no need to ask for information in any thing as now you do, or to inquire after the sense of any thing suggested to you by the Spirit. as you now sometimes ask the meaning of my words. Verily, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father, &c., in my name — And if ever you stand in need of instruction, or assistance, or any other blessing, whether for the propagation of the gospel or your own salvation, the Father will immediately supply you with it, upon your asking it in my name. The word αιτησητε, rendered, ye shall ask, in this latter clause, is different from that used in the former, and properly signifies, to present a request, as the other word does to make inquiry, or ask questions. Hitherto ye have asked nothing in my name — Not having been used to regard me under the character of a Mediator between God and man; but then, having received a fuller revelation of the doctrine of my intercession, you may come with a cheerful boldness to the throne of grace, and freely ask whatever shall be necessary, or conducive to the success of your great undertaking, or your support and comfort amidst your temporal discouragements; and, I assure you, you shall receive such gracious answers as will exceedingly increase your joy.16:23-27 Asking of the Father shows a sense of spiritual wants, and a desire of spiritual blessings, with conviction that they are to be had from God only. Asking in Christ's name, is acknowledging our unworthiness to receive any favours from God, and shows full dependence upon Christ as the Lord our Righteousness. Our Lord had hitherto spoken in short and weighty sentences, or in parables, the import of which the disciples did not fully understand, but after his resurrection he intended plainly to teach them such things as related to the Father and the way to him, through his intercession. And the frequency with which our Lord enforces offering up petitions in his name, shows that the great end of the mediation of Christ is to impress us with a deep sense of our sinfulness, and of the merit and power of his death, whereby we have access to God. And let us ever remember, that to address the Father in the name of Christ, or to address the Son as God dwelling in human nature, and reconciling the world to himself, are the same, as the Father and Son are one.In that day - After my resurrection and ascension.

Ye shall ask me nothing - The word rendered "ask" here may have two significations, one to ask by way of inquiry, the other to ask for assistance. Perhaps there is reference here to both these senses. While he was with them they had been accustomed to depend on him for the supply of their wants, and in a great degree to propose their trials to him, expecting his aid. See Matthew 8:25; John 11:3. They were also dependent on his personal instructions to explain to them the mysteries of his religion, and to remove their perplexities on the subject of his doctrines. They had not sought to God through him as the Mediator, but they had directly applied to the Saviour himself. He now tells them that henceforward their requests were to be made to God in his name, and that he, by the influences of his Spirit, would make known to them what Jesus would himself do if bodily present. The emphasis in this verse is to be placed on the word "me." Their requests were not to be made to him, but to the Father.

Whatsoever ye shall ask ... - See John 14:13.

23-28. In that day—of the dispensation of the Spirit (as in Joh 14:20).

ye shall ask—inquire of

me nothing—by reason of the fulness of the Spirit's teaching (Joh 14:26; 16:13; and compare 1Jo 2:27).

That the day here spoken of is that before mentioned, John 16:22, when Christ promised to see them again, and that their hearts should rejoice, is without question; but what that day is (as we before showed) is not so well agreed: some understand it of the general resurrection, when Christ shall come to judgment, when all asking for satisfaction as to any thing of which we doubt shall cease; and this seemeth at first the plainest sense: You shall then be made perfect; as you shall want nothing, so you shall ask nothing, But because of the following words, which plainly refer to the time of this life, others distinguish concerning asking, and by asking here understand, asking by way of question, for further information, not by way of prayer for supply: and indeed the Greek word enforces that sense; for it is not aithsete, which signifieth to ask or beg, as in prayer; but erwthsete, which signifieth to ask for a resolution in case of doubting. Now though it be true, that in the day of judgment, when we shall see Christ as he is, and know God as we are known, we shall have no occasion to ask any questions; yet because the following words speak of an asking in prayer, which is proper to this life, it should seem that the day here mentioned is some time before the last judgment: what that should be, is the question. It is certainly best understood of the time after the effusion or pouring out of the Spirit in the days of Pentecost; of which time it was prophesied by Joel, Joel 2:28, that God would pour out his Spirit on all flesh; their sons and their daughters should prophesy, their old men should dream dreams, and their young men should see visions, Acts 2:17; and to which time Isaiah had a respect in his prophecy, Isaiah 11:9, that the earth should befall of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea. So as these words,

ye shall ask me nothing in that day, signify the great light that should, upon the coming down of the Holy Spirit, shine in upon their souls, so that they should no longer have any such doubts as they now had; and sound much the same thing that we have, 1Jo 2:27, But the anointing (by which is meant the Holy Spirit) which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you; but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things. We must not too rigidly interpret our Saviour’s words here, as if they were a promise of such a state in this life, when either the present or succeeding disciples of Christ should be so filled with knowledge, as they should have no further doubts, or need not to ask any thing of Christ, that is, to be resolved in any thing. Our Saviour here speaketh only comparatively, to signify the great difference there would be as to knowledge, between them in their present state, and what should be after the pouring out of the Holy Spirit: they should then fully understand what Christ meant by his saying, A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me, because I go to the Father: and should not need ask him questions about that, or many other things which they were now at a loss about: as Jeremiah 31:34, where the prophet saith, They shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for they shall all know me, from the least to the greatest. It must not be interpreted (as some have done) to signify a needlessness of ministerial teaching; so neither must this text be interpreted to signify a needlessness of an inquiry of Christ for further satisfaction; but only as signifying the vast difference in the degrees of knowledge, after the Holy Spirit should be poured forth, from what was even in the best men before that time. In the latter part of the text another word is used, it is not erwthsete, but aithsete. Our Saviour there plainly speaketh of their asking in prayer; and the promise is, that to supply the defects of their knowledge, and the want of his personal instruction, they should obtain by prayer from the Father all that was necessary for their discharge of the prophetical office, Matthew 7:7 15:7 16:24. See Poole on "Matthew 7:7". See Poole on "Matthew 15:7". See Poole on "Matthew 16:24". In that day ye shall ask me nothing,.... Meaning, not the whole Gospel dispensation, so often called, in prophetic language, "that day"; and is, in the New Testament, opposed to the night of Jewish and Gentile darkness; and, in comparison of the former dispensation, is a time of great spiritual light and knowledge: nor the latter part of that day, when there will be no night of darkness and desertion, of error and security, of affliction and persecution, with the church; when the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the Lord; when all the children of God shall be taught of him, and there will be no need to say, know the Lord, for all shall know him, from the least to the greatest: nor the day of judgment, which, by way of emphasis, is so frequently called "that day": nor the state of ultimate happiness, the everlasting day of glory; when all imperfections shall be done away, when saints will know, as they are known, and see Jesus as he is, and need not ask any questions about him: but the time when Christ, and his apostles, should meet again, and see each other's faces with joy and pleasure, is meant; and the time following thereon, especially the day of Pentecost, when the Spirit was poured down upon them, and, according to his promise, came to them, taught them all things, and led them into all truth. This asking is not to be understood of asking in prayer; for it appears, by what follows, that they should ask in his name then, and he encourages to it; but of asking him questions, and that not of any sort; for it is certain, that, within this time, they did ask many things. Peter asked what John, the beloved disciple, should do; and they all asked him, a little before his ascension, whether he would, at that time, restore again the kingdom to Israel; but it is to be restrained to such things they had been, or were, desirous of asking him; such as, whither goest thou? show us the Father? how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world? and more especially these last questions, they greatly desired to put to him, what is this, "a little while and ye shall not see me?" and what is this, "a little while and ye shall see me?" and what is the meaning of these words, "because I go to the Father?" John 16:17. Now our Lord intimates, that at this time all these things would be so clear and evident to them, that they should ask him no questions about them. But he adds,

verily, verily, I say unto you, whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you. Asking here signifies prayer, and a different word is here used than before. The object of prayer is the Father, though not to the exclusion of the Son and Spirit, who were both separately, or in conjunction with the Father, prayed unto after this; see Acts 7:59. The medium of access to the Father is the name of Christ; he is the Mediator between God and man, the way of access unto him; whatever is asked, is to be asked on account of his blood, righteousness, and sacrifice, and then there is no doubt of success; whatever is asked will be given; his blood within the vail speaks loud for every blessing; his righteousness, God is always pleased with; his sacrifice is a sweet smelling savour: his mediation is powerful; and his name is always prevalent.

And in that day ye shall ask me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you.
John 16:23-24. Happy result of this spiritual reunion in reference to the disciples’ official relationship: illuminationgranting of prayer.

ἐν ἐκείνῃ τ. ἡμ.] On the day that I shall again be seen by you (spiritually), not: “if the disciples shall spiritually have given birth in themselves to the living Christ” (De Wette); not: on the never-ending day which is to begin with Easter in their souls (Lange), to which the interpretations of Ebrard and Hengstenberg also substantially amount, comp. Brückner.

ἐμὲ οὐκ ἐρωτ. οὐδέν] Because, that is, the enlightenment through the Paraclete will secure you so high a sufficiency of divine knowledge, that you would have no need to question me (note the emphatic ἐμέ) about anything (as hitherto has been the case so frequently and so recently, John 16:19). The discourse of Peter, Acts 2:14 ff., is a living testimony of this divine certainty here promised, which took the place of the want of understanding.[182] Chrysostom, Grotius, and several others, including Weizsäcker and Weiss, incorrectly take ἘΡΩΤ. to mean pray. Comp. John 16:19; John 16:30.

ἀμὴν ἀμὴν, κ.τ.λ.] The further good to be promised is introduced with emphatic asseveration in the consciousness of its great importance.

In adopting the reading ΔΏΣΕΙ ὙΜῖΝ ἘΝ Τῷ ὈΝΌΜ. ΜΟΥ (see the critical notes), we must explain: He will give it you, in virtue of my name, by its power as the determining motive (Winer, p. 362 [E. T. p. 575]), because then you have not prayed otherwise than in my name (see on John 14:13). The interpretation: in my stead (Weiss), yields a paradoxical idea, and has opposed to it John 16:24.

ἕως ἄρτι, κ.τ.λ.] Because, that is, the higher illumination was wanting to you, which belongs thereto, and which will be imparted to you through the medium of the Paraclete only after my departure. You are wanting up to this time in the spiritual ripeness and maturity of age for such praying, as the highest step of prayer that may be heard. This reason appears in harmony with the text from the reciprocal relation of ἘΝ ἘΚΕΊΝῌ Τ. ἩΜΈΡᾼ and ἝΩς ἌΡΤΙ, if we note that by ἘΜΈ ΟὐΚ ἘΡΩΤ. ΟὐΔΈΝ that very divine clearness and certainty is expressed, which is still wanting to them ἝΩς ἌΡΤΙ. The reason, therefore, is not to be determined in this wise, that Christ had not yet been glorified (Luthardt), and had accordingly not yet become to the disciples that which He was to become (Hofmann, Schriftbew. II. 2, p. 358, comp. Hengstenberg).

ἵνα] Divinely ordained object of the ΛΉΨΕΣΘΕ.

] John 16:22. It is to be filled up, i.e. to be complete, that nothing may be wanting to it. Comp. John 15:11. There is thus fulfilled in the disciples, after their reception of the Spirit through the granting of their prayers, the consolatory picture of the bearing woman in her joy after the sorrow she has surmounted. Luthardt also transposes John 16:23-24 into the time before the last future; but necessitated to this, he should not have referred John 16:16 ff. to the Parousia.

[182] Scholten’s view is a misunderstanding of an enthusiastic kind, to the effect that this saying overthrows the entire Protestant principle of Scripture.John 16:23-28. Future accessibility of the Father.23. in that day] Not the forty days of His bodily presence between the Resurrection and the Ascension, but the many days of His spiritual presence from Pentecost onwards. Comp. John 16:26 and John 14:20.

ye shall ask me nothing] The Greek is as ambiguous as the English. It is the same verb (erôtân) as is used in John 16:19, and may mean either, as there, ‘ask no question,’ or, ‘make no petition’ (see on John 14:16). The former is better. When they are illuminated by the Spirit there will be no room for such questions as ‘What is this little while? How can we know the way? Whither goest Thou? How is it that Thou wilt manifest Thyself unto us and not unto the world?’ His going to the Father will gain for them (I) perfect knowledge.

Verily, verily] See on John 1:51.

Whatsoever … give it you] The better reading gives, If ye shall ask anything of the Father, He will give it you in My name. The word for ‘ask’ here and in the next verse is aitein not erôtân. Note that the answer as well as the prayer (John 14:13, John 15:16) is in Christ’s name, and all such prayers will be answered. His return to the Father will gain for them (2) perfect response to prayer.John 16:23. Ἐν ἐκείνῃ τῇ ἡμέρᾳ, in that day) This expression is also applied to prayer in John 16:26, which is the subject presently after treated of in this verse.—οὐκ ἐρωτήσετε) ye shall not ask questions, viz. ye shall not ask them under the influence of sorrow, as in John 16:6, but from joy.[366] A foretaste of this αὐταρκεία, and satisfied acquiescence [mental tranquility, as having within all needful knowledge] follows presently in John 16:30. Ye will not have occasion to ask or solicit Me for answers: ye shall clearly perceive all things. Comp. John 16:19; John 16:25; ch. John 21:12, “None of the disciples durst ask Him, Who art Thou? knowing that it was the Lord.” The reality itself will be ready to your hand. Ye will apply to the Father Himself.—οὐδὲν, nothing) as to these subjects. They questioned Him about “the time of the restoration of the kingdom to Israel” in Acts 1:6.—ἀμὴν, ἀμὴν, verily, verily) Once and again He had somewhat touched upon the subject of prayer, declaring that they who would pray in the name of Jesus, should experimentally know the unity of the Father and the Son, ch. John 14:13,“Whatsoever ye shall ask in My name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son;” and that whoever would “abide in Christ and bear fruit,” whatsoever they would ask,” they should receive, ch. John 15:7; John 15:16. Now He treats of prayer in pursuance, of His design (in a more formal and systematic way than before).—ὅσα ἂν, whatsoever things) We have afforded to us a carte blanche, as Spener expresses it.—αἰτήσητε, ye shall have asked [prayed for]) even as regards those things, about which ye now desire, ἐρωτᾷν, to ask Me questions. Praying is a something more evident, and as it were more palpable than faith; therefore Jesus in instructing His disciples in regard to prayer, leads them on thereby to faith.—τὸν Πατέρα, the Father) This answers to ἐμὲ, Me, in the beginning of this verse. Jesus instructs His disciples, that having laid aside their yearnings for the visible presence of Jesus, they should approach the Father (avail themselves of their access to the Father).—δώσει, He will give it) I will do it, He had said in ch. John 14:13-14, where He was speaking of their recognising the Father as being in the Son: now when speaking of the love of the Father, viz. towards believers, He saith, He will give it.

[366] The Engl. Vers. confounds the sense and the distinction between ἐρωτάω and αἰτέω in this verse. There is no contrast drawn between asking the Son which shall cease, and asking the Father which shall begin; but the first half of the ver. promises one blessing—viz. that they shall have no longer need to question Him (ἐρωτᾶν); ver. 19, for by the Spirit they shall know all these things. The second half of the ver. promises a distinct blessing—viz. the granting of all that they ask (αἰτεῖν) the Father in the Son’s name. Note, that πυνθάνομαι cannot be exchanged with ἐρωτάω. Πυνθάνομαι has a reflexive sense, and therefore is in the Middle; to have inquiry made, to inquire for one’s information; percontari. Ἐρωτᾶν. interrogare, to ask questions. See Trench and Tittm. Syn. N. T.—E. and T.Verse 23. - And in that day - that long and blessed period beginning at the Resurrection with your vision of me, and being ever more and more enhanced in blessedness by your intense conviction that "I am with you" and "see you," though you see me not - in that day ye shall put me no question, as in the old method of confidential intercourse of man with man. That period passes away with this solemn night. Not in this way will the intercourse be carried forward. "That day" started from Easter morning, and it is not yet noon. Perhaps one reason for this statement is that the illumination of the Spirit would render such questioning unnecessary, but a more certain explanation is that they would themselves stand in new relations with the Father through him. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever thing ye shall ask (αἰτήσητε) the Father, he will give it you in my Name. The modern editors, by placing the ἐν τῷ ονόματί μου ("in my Name") after δώσει ὑμῖν, or as Tischendorf (8th edit.), in a clause commencing with δώσει, suggest that in this particular clause the Name of Christ is not only the medium by which the disciples approach the Father (which is obvious enough from Ver. 24), but the manifestation and ministry by which not only is the prayer heard, but the gift or answer bestowed. As sentence after sentence follows, the disciples are led up to the heart of the Father himself. Ye shall ask (ἐρωτήσετε)

Or, as Rev., in margin, ask - question. To question is the primary meaning of the verb, from which it runs into the more general sense of request, beseech. So Mark 7:26; Luke 4:38; John 17:15, etc. Here the meaning is, ye shall ask me no question (compare John 16:19, where the same verb is used). Compare Matthew 16:13; Matthew 21:24; John 1:19. Ask, absolutely, Luke 22:68. Note, moreover, the selection of the word here as marking the asking on familiar terms. See on John 11:22. Another verb for ask occurs in the following sentence: "If ye shall ask (αἰτήστητε) anything," etc. Here the sense is, if ye shall make any request. Compare Matthew 5:42; Matthew 7:7, Matthew 7:9, Matthew 7:10, etc. Note, also, that this word for asking the Father marks the asking of an inferior from a superior, and is the word which Christ never uses of His own requests to the Father. Compare 1 John 3:22.

Verily, verily

See on John 1:51; see on John 10:1.

Whatsoever ye shall ask - in my name - give

The best texts change ὅσα ἂν, whatsoever, to ἄντ, if (ye shall ask) anything; and place in my name after give it you. So Rev. If ye shall ask anything of the Father, He will give it you in my name. Not only is the prayer offered, but the answer is given in Christ's name.

John 16:23 Interlinear
John 16:23 Parallel Texts

John 16:23 NIV
John 16:23 NLT
John 16:23 ESV
John 16:23 NASB
John 16:23 KJV

John 16:23 Bible Apps
John 16:23 Parallel
John 16:23 Biblia Paralela
John 16:23 Chinese Bible
John 16:23 French Bible
John 16:23 German Bible

Bible Hub

John 16:22
Top of Page
Top of Page