Does John 16:26-27 Contradict What You State in Your Booklet, “Teach Us to Pray!”?


The passage in John 16:26-27 states the following:

“In that day you will ask in My name, and I DO NOT SAY TO YOU THAT I SHALL PRAY THE FATHER FOR YOU; for the Father Himself loves you, because you have loved Me, and have believed that I came forth from God…”

In our booklet, “Teach Us to Pray!”, we wrote this in the chapter, titled, “In the Name of Christ” (pages 82 – 86):

“Christ tells us that we are to pray to the Father in ‘Christ’s name’ (compare, for instance, John 16:23: ‘… whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you.’). What, exactly, does it mean to pray to God the Father in Christ’s name?…

“John 14:13-14 says that whatever we ask in Christ’s name, Christ will do it… When we pray to the Father in Christ’s name… we acknowledge Christ’s role and function while we pray, expecting Christ to do something while we pray. In general, when we pray to God in the name of Christ, we are praying through Christ—expecting Christ to back us up, support us, and do something in regard to what we say. The Commentary on the Whole Bible, by Jamieson, Fausset and Brown, explains that Christ is the living Conductor of the prayer upward, and the answer downward…

“When we pray or say something in the name of Christ, we say it, not only with or by His authority, but we actually speak through Christ… Christ lives in us, and when we pray in the name of Christ, it is actually Christ who gives us the mind to say the right things, and it is He who even communicates to the Father what we might have wanted to say—but we could not find the right way to express them. We read that the Spirit makes intercession for us, when we pray (Compare Romans 8:26-27). Verse 34 clarifies that it is actually Christ, through His Spirit, who makes intercession for us or pleads our cause. He is a life-giving Spirit (1 Corinthians 15:45)…”

In the booklet, we also ask the very question raised in this Q&A, by referring to John 16:26-27, stating: “Doesn’t this passage say that Christ will NOT pray for us to the Father?” We should realize that if that were the case, then literally dozens of Scriptures would be annulled. We read that Christ is our Intercessor, interceding for us. We point out in our booklet:

“The Commentary on the Whole Bible, by Jamieson, Fausset and Brown, explains: ‘Christ does pray the Father for His people, but not for the purpose of inclining an unwilling ear… It is not that the Father were not of Himself disposed to aid you.’

“…Christ was saying, in effect: It is not that the Father does not love you. He does love you, because you have loved Me. At the same time, Christ IS our Mediator, and it is His role, as the One who HAD BEEN MAN, and can therefore sympathize with our weaknesses, to speak to the Father on our behalf… Christ lives in us (2 Corinthians 13:5). Christ lived in Paul, and Paul lived by the faith of Christ (Galatians 2:20, Authorized Version), even when he spoke to people and when he prayed to God.  Notice 2 Corinthians 13:3: ‘… since you seek a proof of Christ speaking in me.’ As Christ lived in Paul, He was speaking through and for Paul.

“So again, when we pray to the Father in the name of Christ… we ask Christ to communicate our prayers, in their intended way, to the Father… Hebrews 9:24 tells us that Christ appears in the presence of God the Father for us, NOW, every time we pray in His name…”

This conclusion has been questioned by some. In pointing at John 16:26-27, it was stated that Christ only intercedes for us when we have sinned and pray to God for forgiveness; or, that Christ does not intercede for us at all in an active way; but when we use the words “in Christ’s name,” God the Father remembers thereby Christ’s Supreme Sacrifice, and that is all which is necessary, without any active role of Christ and without any literal intervention or intercession.

These concepts are erroneous. As we have seen, Christ’s role in interceding for us is VERY active, direct and immediate.

Let us therefore review some more statements from commentaries, trying to explain the meaning of John 16:26-27.

Barnes’ Notes on the Bible says:

“In John 14:16, Jesus says that he would pray the Father, and that he would send the Comforter. In John 17 he offered a memorable prayer for them. In Hebrews 7:25, it is said that Jesus ever liveth to make intercession for us; and it is constantly represented in the New Testament that it is by his intercession in heaven now that we obtain the blessings of pardon, peace, strength, and salvation. Compare Hebrews 9:24. This declaration of Jesus, then, does not mean that he would not intercede for them, but that there was no need then of his mentioning it to them again. They knew that; and, in addition to that, he told them that God was ready and willing to confer on them all needful blessings.”

The Adam Clarke Commentary agrees, stating:

“I need not tell you that I will continue your intercessor: I have given you already so many proofs of my love that ye cannot possibly doubt this: besides, the Father himself… loves you, and is graciously disposed to save you to the uttermost, because ye have loved me and believed in me as coming from God, for the salvation of the world.”

The Expositor’s Greek Testament makes it even clearer:

“The intention of the statement is to convey fuller assurance that their prayers will be answered. The Father’s love needs no prompting. Yet the intercession of Christ, so emphatically presented in the Epistle to the Hebrews and in Romans 8:34, is not ignored. Jesus says: ‘I do not base the expectation of answer solely on my intercession, but on the Father’s love… I do not bring this forward as the sole reason why you may expect to be heard’…”

Similarly Calvin’s Commentary on the Bible:

“John calls [Christ] our Advocate, (1 John 2:1.) Paul also testifies that Christ now intercedes for us (Romans 8:34); and the same thing is confirmed by the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews, who declares that Christ always liveth to make intercession for us (Hebrews 7:25)… Christ does not absolutely say, in this passage, that he will not be Intercessor, but he only means, that the Father will be so favorably disposed towards the disciples, that, without any difficulty, he will give freely whatever they shall ask…”

A very insightful comment can also be found in Coffman’s Commentaries on the Bible:

“This is a further exhortation for the apostles to pray directly to God in Jesus’ name, on the grounds that the love of God for Christ is extended to Jesus’ disciples. This love of God was the result not merely of their belief in Christ… but was also based upon their love of Christ…. because… such love means keeping Jesus’ words and obeying his commands (John 14:15).”

The Wycliffe Bible Commentary elaborates:

“In the future, prayer would indeed be in the name of Christ, but not in the sense that the Son would be the means of overcoming some sort of hesitancy or resistance in the Father which otherwise believers would encounter. On the contrary, the Father loveth them, and is ready to receive them because of their attitude toward his beloved Son.”

The Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament state:

“When Christ says, I do not say that I will pray the Father for you, the meaning is not that he will lay aside his office as intercessor for believers, but that they had not only his intercession, but the Father’s love, upon which to ground their hope of audience… the Christian’s prayers, put up in Christ’s name, cannot fail of audience and acceptance for the sake of the Mediator’s intercession and the Father’s love… in our prayers we ought so to eye and look up to Christ’s intercession, as not to overlook and forget the Father’s love, but ground our hopes of audience upon both.”

Justin Edwards’ Family Bible New Testament writes:

“The Saviour does not mean to deny that he will intercede with the Father for his disciples; but rather to lead their minds beyond this truth, which he had frequently stated, to another: that the Father is one with him in loving them, so that his intercession for them must prevail.”

We can see from the Bible, as the above-quoted commentators also recognize, that Christ continues to intercede for us quite actively, and when we pray to the Father in Christ’s name, we emphasize the fact that we are aware of Christ’s very personal and individual intercession on our behalf. At the same time, we must also realize the great love that the Father has for us, so that the Father’s and Christ’s love for us, who are “one” in mind and purpose (John 10:30), will guarantee that our prayers will be heard, when we do our part (1 John 3:22), and that we will receive what we ask in accordance with God’s Will (1 John 5:14).

The Catholic concept is preposterous that people must pray to the “Virgin Mary” who, as Christ’s mother, has allegedly more love for us than the Father. Equally preposterous is the idea that when praying to the “Virgin Mary,” she will intercede for us in speaking to Christ; and He will listen to His mother and then intercede for us in pleading with the Father who is portrayed as the cruel and harsh Old Testament God.

First of all, there is only ONE Mediator between God and Man–Jesus Christ (1 Timothy 2:5). He is the ONLY one who was resurrected to eternal life; those who died in Christ will be resurrected to eternal life at the time of His Second coming… not before then (1 Corinthians 15:20-23). The “Virgin Mary” is no intercessor… she is not in heaven, nor even alive; she is dead in her grave, waiting for the resurrection from the dead.

In addition, the false idea that the Father is the harsh God of the Old Testament, while Christ is the loving God of the New Testament, is also quite blasphemous, because it was Jesus Christ who, as the God of the Old Testament, dealt and acted directly with the Israelites (1 Corinthians 10:4)–but He was by no means harsh and cruel; as the second member of the God Family, He is the same yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8). He came to reveal the Father who was unknown to most people (Matthew 11:27; John 1:18; 5:37).  (For more information, please read our free booklets: Jesus Christ–a Great Mystery; Do You Know the Jesus of the Bible?” and “God Is a Family.”)

Therefore, Christ emphasizes in John 16:26-28 that the Father, as God, IS love (1 John 4:8), and that He loves us (1 John 4:9-10). His intercession is not for the purpose of awakening or stirring up God’s love; it is however, at times, for the purpose of re-emphasizing the fact that we are flesh and blood human beings who are weak and feeble; and that Jesus lived as a man and experienced how it is to be tempted in the flesh in all things, while overcoming sin in the flesh and staying sinless (Romans 8:3; Hebrews 4:15).

It is also for this very reason that Jesus is the Judge of all men, because He is the Son of MAN (John 5:22, 27)… having lived as a human being (John 1:1, 14; Philippians 2:5-8) and experienced the weakness of the flesh (Matthew 27:41). We read that God loves the Son, and because of His Son, He also loves us with the SAME love (John 17:23), if we are willing to manifest His love (1 John 5:2-3), which “has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit [which] was given to us” (Romans 5:5).

Lead Writer: Norbert Link

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