"I am not saying that I will ask the Father on your behalf..." (John 16:26-27)

"In that day you will ask in my name. I am not saying that I will ask the Father on your behalf. No, the Father himself loves you because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God." (John 16:26-27)

When is 'that day'?

Jesus is speaking to his closest disciples following what has been considered the 'last supper.'

Jesus' statement begins with "In that day." What is "that day"?

"That day" refers to Jesus' previous statement, where he says:
"Though I have been speaking figuratively, a time is coming when I will no longer use this kind of language but will tell you plainly about my Father." (John 16:25)
So Jesus is talking about a time when he will be able to speak to his disciples "plainly" about the Supreme Being.

Each person has a unique relationship with the Supreme Being. And each of us is advancing towards (or withdrawing from) our relationship with God at our own pace.

This means that Jesus is not speaking of same particular day for everyone. He is not speaking of, for example, some time in the future (more than 2,000 years later?) when the world is supposed to end as these sectarian preachers have been proselytizing? Why would Jesus wait more than 2,000 years to speak plainly to everyone?

The Greek word ἡμέρα (hēmera), from which "that day" is being translated, actually does not indicate a particular day. It means "the day, used of the natural day, or the interval between sunrise and sunset, as distinguished from and contrasted with the night" according to the lexicon.

This means that "the day" is a better translation than "that day."

What is the difference between 'that day' and 'the day'?

Let's use an example. Let's say that a parent sets a curfew for their child, at say, 7pm. Their child cannot be out of the house after 7pm.

So the parent tells the child, "the day you learn to be more responsible, your curfew will be extended."

Is the parent speaking of a particular day - a day that some event is to happen? No. The parent is speaking of a requisite: As soon as the child becomes more responsible, the curfew will be extended.

What if the child then speculated - "well I will be more responsible on my 16th birthday, so that must be the day my curfew will be extended." But that wasn't what the parent said. The parent was speaking of a point in time where the child proved he was responsible enough to go out after 7pm.

Now, what if the parent said this to multiple children at the same time, and they were different ages? Would it mean that all their curfews would all be extended on the same "day"? Certainly not. Each of them would have to show their increased level of responsibility, and each would have their curfew extended at that time. Because they are at different ages, it is very unlikely they would all become more responsible at the same time.

This is analogous to what Jesus is speaking of. In other words, "the day" Jesus is speaking of here is not a particular day for everyone - as in an event. Rather, it is a unique day for each person who advances to a point where they are ready to hear Jesus speak plainly about God.

We know this because Jesus has indicated why he has spoken figuratively about the Supreme Being in his teachings:
The disciples came to him and asked, "Why do you speak to the people in parables?" This is why I speak to them in parables: "Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand." (Matt. 13:10)
This means that Jesus' speaking figuratively (in parables) relates to his audience being ready to hear more details ("speak plainly") about the Supreme Being.

So what happens at the point they are ready to hear more about God? "You will ask in my name," says Jesus.

What does 'ask in my name' mean?

This phrase is being translated from the Greek words αἰτέω (aiteō) and ὄνομα (onoma). αἰτέω relates to asking or requesting - but also means to "call for" or "require." And ὄνομα also has a broader definition, according to the lexicon: "the name is used for everything which the name covers, everything the thought or feeling of which is aroused in the mind by mentioning, hearing, remembering, the name, i.e. for one's rank, authority, interests, pleasure, command, excellences, deeds, etc."

Quite simply, the phrase "ask in my name" relates to a person's seeking out God ("calling for") by invoking Jesus.

Let's use an example. Let's say that Bobbi has a friend named Tim. We are friends with Bobbi, but we do not know Tim. But Bobbi has told us about Tim.

And let's say that we see Tim at a party and we approach Tim and introduce ourselves. We would probably say, "I'm a friend of Bobbi's" or "I understand you and Bobbi are friends."

What are we doing when we say this? We are approaching Tim "in the name of" Bobbi. We are invoking our relationship with Bobbi as we approach Tim.

The expectation is that because Tim and Bobbi are friends, Tim will open up to us, because we are also friends with Bobbi.

Remember that just before this statement Jesus is talking about speaking "more plainly" (which can also be interpreted as "more boldly"). Basically, this means that Jesus will be introducing them to God more directly.

So then as they reach out to God, they would naturally do this in Jesus' name - invoking Jesus in their reaching out to the Supreme Being.

But next Jesus says, "I am not saying that I will ask the Father on your behalf." What does this mean?

Let's go back to Tim and Bobbi. Remember that we would naturally invoke Bobbi's name when we approached Tim. But now Bobbi says to us that even though we invoked her name when we approached Tim, Bobbi will not be asking Tim anything for us.

This obviously means that Bobbi is saying that at that point, we will need to ask Tim directly. Bobbi will not remain the go-between. Bobbi is saying that we can have our own relationship with Tim.

And this is exactly what Jesus is saying here. The very next sentence, Jesus says:
"No, the Father Himself loves you"
This says two things very clearly: First, Jesus is making a distinction between himself and the Supreme Being. "The Father Himself" - this is called a reflexive pronoun.

What is a reflexive pronoun?

When someone uses the reflexive pronoun they are distinguishing that person from themselves and anyone else.

For example, if a person says "Bill did the job" then this would include the possibility that Bill might have hired some people who helped him do the job. But if a person says "Bill did the job himself" or "Bill himself did the job," this specifically means that Bill did it. He didn't hire anyone else or involve anyone else.

In the same way, Jesus is saying that God loves them separately and distinctly from Jesus' love for them.

In other words, it distinguishes Jesus from God, and it indicates that each of us can have a distinct relationship with God even when we reach out to God by invoking God's representative.

This point is confirmed by the last part of Jesus' statement, "because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God."

What does 'came from God' mean?

The phrase "came from" is being derived from the Greek word ἐξῆλθον, from the root ἐξέρχομαι (exerchomai) which means to "come forth of" or "of the point from which he departs" according to Thayer's lexicon. It specifically relates coming from a place - rather than out of a person. Yes, some have tried to interpret this to mean Jesus came out of God. 

Of course, we were all created by God. Each of us came out of God.

But this is not what Jesus is saying. Jesus is saying that he came from God's place - the spiritual realm. Jesus is saying he came from that place where Jesus enjoys a loving relationship with the Supreme Being.

This should clear the misinformation put out by some sectarian teachers who do not know God and thus equate Jesus with God. 

If Jesus were God, then why would he say, "No, the Father Himself loves you" and "I am not saying that I will ask the Father on your behalf"

Jesus is obviously speaking of a Personality distinct from himself.

But he is also saying that because his students trusted - the Greek word πεπιστεύκατε means to "have trusted" - that Jesus came from God and represents God - God loves them.

Jesus is not saying that God does not love those who do not trust that Jesus was God's representative. God loves each and every one of us unconditionally.

However, the "love" that Jesus is discussing here relates to a relationship.

Let's use an example. Let's say that a mother has 10 children and loves them all equally, even though most of them are brats. However, let's say that one of her children is particularly obedient and is helping the mother clean the house and take care of things, and listens to her when she says something.

Will the mother love this obedient child any more than her others? Certainly not. But she will nonetheless have a special relationship with the obedient child because that child is helping her and engaging in conversation with her. So there is a special relationship with that child - a reciprocating relationship.

The other children will receive the mother's love, but will not reciprocate it. But the obedient child reciprocates the mother's love, and it is that very reciprocation that creates a deeper relationship.

This deeper relationship of reciprocated love is what Jesus is speaking of. When we just ask God for stuff as though He is our order-supplier - our servant - then that is one thing. And because God owns everything, He automatically provides for us.

But should we reach out to God personally and ask if we could learn to love Him and learn to please Him (serve Him instead of just asking Him to serve us by giving us stuff), then God reciprocates that relationship. As our desire to reciprocate a loving relationship with Him grows, He will show Himself to us more and more, and we will be able to establish our unique relationship with Him.

But at the same time, we cannot forget the person or persons who have helped introduce us to the Supreme Being. It is not as if we leave them behind. We don't forget about Bobbi now that we have a relationship with Tim.

Do relationships work like this?

For example, if Tim found out we were just using Bobbi to get to know Tim and we ignored Bobbi once we gained contact with Tim, then Tim would not want to continue such a friendship. Tim's relationship with us was founded upon our relationship with Bobbi. If we simply abandon our relationship with Bobbi once we met Tim, it will collapse our relationship with Tim because Tim and Bobbi have a tight friendship.

In the same way, when God's representative introduces us to God, and we invoke God's representative as we approach God, we remain dedicated to God's representative as part of that relationship with God. Yet we still - as Jesus stresses here - establish our own unique relationship with God. It is not as if we cannot have a direct loving relationship with God and God's representative has to be our 'go-between.'

We might compare this to an ambassador in a foreign country. The foreign country's president will always respect and maintain communications with the ambassador but that doesn't mean the foreign country's president cannot maintain a direct relationship with the ambassador's president. It is not like the ambassador has to be present for every meeting the two presidents might have.

While having a loving relationship with the Supreme Being does not depend upon our race, our sect, our religious institution or the family our body was born in, there are certain rules for loving relationships that must be adhered to.

One of the most important is not to blaspheme or in any way hurt any of God's loving servants. This is offensive to God. Why? Because God enjoys a special loving relationship with His loving servant, and to offend God's loving servant offends God. Doing so will thus make it very difficult for us to have a relationship with God in the future.

On the other hand, to become dedicated to, hear from and provide service to God's representative - as Jesus' close disciples had done - pleases God. And this renders a greater opportunity for us to approach God by invoking His loving servant.

And the most glorious thing about hearing from God's representative is - even if they might have spoken figuratively - is that as we advance in our desire to come to know, love and please God - their teachings become clearer to us. This is the meaning of "will tell you plainly about my Father". 

It is not necessary that Jesus will need to physically speak more directly about God to his disciples - although the scriptures do indicate he did appear to them after the death of his physical body. The fact is, God's representative's teachings can speak "more plainly" in the form of understanding them better, as our desire to love and serve God increases.

Even so, we still must come to establish our own unique loving relationship with God, as Jesus clarifies here. This is because establishing our own loving relationship with God is, in fact, the only thing that will make us happy, and thus Jesus' most important teaching. This is confirmed by this verse:
“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment." (Matt. 22:37-38)

*Here is the translation of Jesus' statement from the Lost Gospels of Jesus:
"On that day you will ask in my name and I won’t say to you that I will summon the Creator on your behalf; for the Creator Himself loves you, because you have loved me and have faith that I was dispatched by the Creator.” (John 16:26-27)