“In that day you will ask in My name. I am not telling you that I will make requests to the Father on your behalf. For the Father Himself loves you, because you have loved Me and have believed that I came from God.” (John 16:25–27 HCSB)
We find a bit of a difficulty in these verse because at first glance Jesus seems to be telling his disciples, “Sorry boys, no more requests from you guys. I’m tapped out.” We know that this is not what he was saying because it is so obvious from the surrounding context. If he wasn’t saying this, then what did he mean?
Notice that Jesus immediately connects the “I am not telling you…” to the fact that “the Father himself loves you.” He seems to be saying that after the course of events that are swiftly to follow that there would be an intimate connection between the disciples and God the Father. So intimate that Jesus could express it as “the Father himself loves you.” In the Greek the words “the Father himself” are emphasized.
B. W. Johnson makes an important distinction: “It must be borne in mind that Christ does not say that he will not pray the Father, but teaches that no intercession is needed to win the love of the Father. Christ elsewhere teaches that he is our Intercessor.”
The Expositor’s Bible Commentary takes a bit of a different interpretation: “It would be unnecessary for Jesus to make requests on their behalf, for they would be able to present their own petitions.” The Tyndale Commentary seems to agree: “Following Jesus’ resurrection, ascension and the coming of the Spirit, the disciples would no longer have access to Jesus’ physical presence, but this would not prove to be a loss, because they would have direct access to the Father. They would not need Jesus to ask the Father on their behalf.”
Whatever the exact interpretation of Jesus’ statement here, what he is absolutely clear on is his next words: “For the Father Himself loves you, because you have loved Me and have believed that I came from God.” (John 16:27 HCSB)
The verbs “have loved” and “have believed” are in the perfect tense which means that they were a done deal, that the disciples had made a choice and—despite immediate appearances—were not going back on that choice to love Jesus and believe that he came from God.
Did the disciples go back on their love for Jesus and belief that he came from God? Here is John in his letter to the church:
“Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Messiah has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father also loves the one born of Him.” (1 John 5:1 HCSB)
You be the judge, dear reader. Did John absorb Jesus’ message to his disciples? Did you?