“Ask Anything in My Name!”
I want to start with something funny that I found on an internet site: A college student was in Philosophy class, where a class discussion about whether God exists or not was in progress. The professor had the following logic: “Has anyone in this class seen God?” Nobody spoke. “Has anyone in this class touched God?” Again, nobody spoke. “Has anyone in this class ever heard God?” When nobody spoke for the third time, he simply stated, “Then there is no God!”
One of the students did not like the sound of this and asked for permission to speak. The professor granted it, and the student stood up. “Has anyone in this class seen our professor’s brain?” he asked.
We, Christians, believe in God, who we can’t see. We believe in Jesus Christ, who died on the cross more than 2000 years ago. We believe in the Holy Spirit, who we can’t see, but is with us. It sounds strange, but it is true. Even the disciples of Jesus, who Jesus taught, were also confused, but later understood and wrote about the truth. That is the Bible we have today. Therefore, we trust in the Bible; through the Bible, we can know God. Jesus said, “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed” (John 20:29). Yes, we are blessed!
Today’s scripture is Jesus’s last discourse, like a farewell speech. Jesus knew how he would go and worried about his disciples, who may tremble with fear after he was gone. He said, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; also believe in me.” And he also said he would go to the Father God to prepare a place for his people and that he would be back to take his people to the place he prepared where he would be with them. He said, “You may know where I am going and where the place is.” However, his disciples needed clarification about where he would go. Thomas asked him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going. How can we know the way?” Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you know me, you will know my Father also. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.” Yes, we know God through Jesus, his teachings, and his love, which he showed us when he laid down his life for us. We know God and believe in Him through the scriptures even though we can’t see Him. The scriptures are the Words of God, written by “God-breathed and are useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the people of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). If you are still suspicious about whether God exists or not, please read the Bible. The scriptures are evidence that God exists and God loves us.
Jesus said, “Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father in me, but if you do not, then believe because of the works themselves.” Do you remember that I talked about the blind man who got his sight back from Jesus last Sunday? He said, “It is strange. Why don’t you still believe that he comes from God? He cured my sight, and I can see. I know God never listens to sinners, but He listens to His people.” The blind man had experienced Jesus and wondered why others couldn’t believe in him. It is another way we can know God, which is through the witnesses and testimonies of the people. Many saw Jesus’ miraculous works, but still didn’t believe in him. But, let us believe in him, and we may gain eternal life. Jesus is the only way to get to God the Father and eternal life. “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).
Jesus told his disciples an essential thing that day. “The one who believes in me will also do the work that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these because I am going to the Father.” What did Jesus mean when he said “do the work”? Jesus said if we believe in Him, we can do what Jesus did, and we may do greater work than he did. What kind of imagery comes to mind when you think of Jesus’ work? Some may think of many miraculous works, such as raising the dead, curing the sick, feeding five thousand people with five loaves of bread and two fish, making wine from water, walking on water, and more. Some may think of his teachings, such as the Beatitude, the Golden Rule, the Sermon on the Mountain, the Great Commandment, and the Great Commission. Some of you may think of his love, that he loves his people until the end of the world, and that he laid down his life to save his people. Yes, the Gospel of John says, “Greater love has no one this, that he lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13). I believe that the work Jesus did and that the greatest work Jesus did was to teach us to love God and love our neighbors with our whole heart, mind, and soul. Love is what Jesus taught us through many teachings, what he showed us through many miraculous works, and what he expected from us. We are Christians who follow Jesus’ teaching by acts. Even though we can’t see God, we can show God’s love to many people through our deeds, such as mission work locally and globally. Many people may know we are Christians by our acts. The First Letter of John says, “Dear Children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. This then is how we know that we belong to the truth and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence” (1 John 3:18-19).
Also, Jesus said, “I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me for anything in my name, I will do it.” Wow, this is great. If you have anyone, who did whatever you asked, what a blessing that is to you! Do you have anyone who always listens to you? Well, even with our loved ones, listening to them is not always easy. You know, that’s why Jesus’ love is greater than anything else, or anyone else’s love. In Korean society, there is a black card. It is like a credit card, and you can purchase anything you want. It is an unlimited credit card that only the royal family and the richest people may have. As a student pastor at a rural church in Korea, I saw that kind of credit card. I was in charge of the education ministry. One day, the president of Sunday School gave me his black card and said, “Whatever you need in your ministry, you can use this card for.” I was surprised he would give me his black card, and I asked him, “Do you trust me to use your card?” He said, “Yes, I trust you because you are one of God’s people.” If you have someone who trusts you, that’s the best encouragement to work forward. So, I know what it means when Jesus said, “I will do whatever you ask me.” Indeed, Jesus trusts in us. It is like he gave us a black card. What about you? Do you trust in Jesus? If you trust in Jesus, please ask him for whatever you need, and see how Jesus trusts in you and loves you! Ask him anything in his name and see how sincere he is for you. Thanks be to God. Amen!