16:26 "In that day you will ask in My name, and I do not say to you that I shall pray the Father for you; 27 for the Father Himself loves you, because you have loved Me, and have believed that I came forth from God. 28 I came forth from the Father and have come into the world. Again, I leave the world and go to the Father.”
In that day... what day is that? The day when they know Him so well that their prayers match the heart of Jesus. Why don't they know Him that well already? Because to know Him that well He would have to speak plainly to them and He can't speak plainly to them yet because they can't handle it yet. It all speaks to the grace and patience of God as He slowly reveals Himself to us as we are able to understand. Why are we so slow to understand? Because much of what is true about Him cuts across the grain of everything we have ever been taught...
Then Jesus casually throws another curve ball into the conversation. He says "I'm not telling you that I'm going to use my position to bring you into favour with God." The Greek word translated 'pray' has the idea of making a request based on a preferred or advantageous position. It's like being able to get tickets for the big game for you and your friends because your dad owns the team. Jesus says He won't be using His position to pray for them. Seems kind of cold until we read further and see why He said it. He is simply saying "I don't need to tell you I'm going to use my exalted position to seek God’s favour for you. I don't need to ask for what you already have. He loves you."
Nothing new here right? God loves us. John 3:16. Simple basic stuff. But is it? Do you remember back in chapter 14 when Jesus first said He was leaving and Philip said "First (before you go) show us the Father and we'll be satisfied." Philip saw God as other than Jesus. Jesus' reply was "Have I been so long with you and you have not seen the Father? If you have seen Me you have seen the Father."
It's understandable. Jesus was human. He looked like them, walked and talked like them, ate with them and was one of them. Sure He was special but God was God. Jesus held babies but God thundered from Sinai. Jesus touched lepers but no one could touch the mountain when God was there. Jesus ate with sinners but God opened the earth and swallowed sinners. Jesus was pretty nice but God had a real temper. They needed Jesus to appease Him, put in a good word for them, help them get on His good side.
"I'm not doing it. I don't need to do it. It's done. He can't love you more than He already does."
Truth is a strange thing. We can hear concepts with our ears and hold them in our minds long before they ever penetrate into our understanding and become true to us.
The reality is we think God is like us, prone to fits of anger, moody, vengeful, bitter even. He's making a list and checking it twice and happier to find a reason to get rid of us than to save us. We even imagine that He will delight to watch the lost writhe in agony in an ever burning hell for the ceaseless ages of eternity even though we would never do such a thing to anyone. We have all these ideas about God and then try to process the idea that He loves us. Any idea that the Old Testament God and Jesus are different in any way is part of our darkened understanding.
At some point we either have to admit our ideas about God are wrong or we have to toss out the idea He loves us because God can't be a supreme tyrant with anger management issues and a loving Father who's consuming desire is to bring us Home.
Into this incongruent picture comes Jesus. A man who loves like they have never seen and still are about to see more. A man who can tell the weather what to do yet treats sinners and gentiles with love and respect. A man who after 3.5 years of turning their Jewish ideas upside down says "God is exactly like Me. We are One. I will not be trying to persuade Him to love you like I love you. He already does. That's why I Am here. The best part is because you have loved Me you will be able to fully benefit from His love. I am going back to My Father and I Am coming back so that I can bring you to be with Us for eternity."
Love. Slowly as Light is able to penetrate our darkness we'll see more and more and more of how amazing Their love actually is.smile emoticon