John 15:16 – Why Pray in the Name of Jesus?

You didn’t choose me, but I chose you, and appointed you, that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain; that whatever you will ask of the Father in my name, he may give it to you. — John 15:16.

Unless otherwise noted, The World English Bible version is used throughout this study.

We have been asked a question concerning Jesus’ words as to why we should pray in Jesus’ name, and not the name of Yahweh (Jehovah)? Some trinitarians and others who believe that Jesus is Yahweh ask this question evidently with the desire to leave the impression that since Jesus said we must pray in his name, that this means that Jesus is Yahweh. And then with the spirit of human imagination that would thus further assume that this means that Jesus is a person of their presumed three persons of Yahweh. And they would further imagine and assume that when Jesus spoke of the Father that this is must mean the first person of their alleged three persons of Yahweh.

Earlier, Jesus had told his disciples to pray to his God, “Our Father in heaven, May your name be kept holy.” (Luke 11:2) Jesus told his disciples to address his God and Father as their “Father”, and he also told them to pray that the name of his God and Father be kept holy. For Jesus’ disciples to address the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob as “Father” would mean their recognition that they are sons of God. John wrote of Jesus: “As many as received him, to them he gave the right to become God’s children, to those who believe in his name.” (John 1:12) The fact these “become God’s children” would mean that they before their belief they were not “God’s children”. Why is this so?

Originally, the first man was a child of God. (Luke 3:38) Before he sinned, he had to crown of the glory of God, being in God’s image and likeness. (Genesis 1:26,27; Psalm 8:5) When Adam sinned, however, he fell short of the glory of God, and through Adam sin entered into the world, and the entire human race was made sinners. (Romans 3:23; 5:12-19) After his sin, Adam was not longer considered a child of God, but rather, God’s wrath came upon him, and the sentence of death was pronounced upon Adam, and through Adam, upon the whole human race. (Genesis 3:17-19) Thus, the world world became as strangers to God, alienated from Him. Thus, the human race, being “by nature children of wrath” (Ephesians 2:3), could not properly address their Creator as “Father”. Nevertheless, God already had a provision in his plan that would remedy this situation.

Paul wrote: “since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead also comes through a man.” (1 Corinthians 15:21, Holman Christian Standard version) That which was needed to provide the atonement for sin would have to be a man, a man who was like Adam before Adam sinned, but who would never sin.

However, when Adam sinned, we read that “God gave them up to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not fitting.” (Romans 1:28) He tells us that “the creation was subjected to vanity, not of its own will, but by reason of him who subjected it.” (Romans 8:20) Thus, Solomon observed long ago: “Vanity of vanities, all is vanity.” –Ecclesiastes 1:2.

Solomon goes on to ask: “Is there a thing of which it may be said, ‘Behold, this is new?’” (Ecclesiastes 1:10) Many misunderstand this question, and think that Solomon erred; if we understand what Solomon was writing about man’s crooked condition that God has subjected mankind to due to Adam’s sin, we can see and understand what he was talking about. Solomon says regarding man living under the present sun of vanity: “That which is crooked can’t be made straight” and “Consider the work of God, for who can make that straight, which he has made crooked?” Due to Adam’s sin, God has made man “crooked”; to be crooked is the opposite of being justified. Man could not justify himself, and thus man did not have the right as a “son of God” to address their Creator as “Father”. Nor can any man produce a creature that is not like himself, that is would not be subject to his own crooked condition, thus Solomon states that there is no such new creation under the sun.

While mankind could not produce a new creation, that is, a creation that is not subject to the vanity and crooked condition of man, God could; this he did when sent His Son into the world. Jesus is depicted as stating to his God: “A body you did prepare for me.” (Hebrews 10:5) Jesus’ body was specially prepared by God; this had to be, or else Jesus’ body would have contaminated with the same crooked condition as the rest of mankind, a condition that he also would not have been able to make straight. Thus, we read that the angel of Yahweh spoke to Joseph concerning Mary’s conception: “that which is conceived [Greek, gennao, begotten] in her is of the Holy Spirit.” (Matthew 1:20) Jesus’ birth into this world was that of being born of God’s Holy Spirit. Jesus was thus not of this world — this creation — that has been corrupted through the sin of Adam. (Romans 5:12; 2 Peter 1:4) Thus he stated: “I am not of this world”; “I am not of the world.” (John 8:23; 17:14,16) Jesus was not born into this world tainted with its sinful, crooked condition. And Jesus never fell short of God’s glory through sin, as all men do through Adam. (John 8:46; Romans 3:23; Thus, in the context of our text, Jesus states: “I have kept my Father’s commandments,” by which he alludes to his full obedience to the only true God who had sent him. (John 17:3; Hebrews 4:15; 1 Peter 2:22) As a sinless human being, through his full obedience to his God he proved himself incorruptible, and thus, by means of this good news, Jesus brought life and incorruption to light for mankind. (2 Timothy 1:10) He did, however, take up himself the condemnation of sin, in the likeness of the sinful flesh, as though his flesh was also sinful, in order to offer his sinless, incorruptible life for sinful and corrupted mankind. Because the entire human race was condemned in one man, only one righteous man would be needed to satisfy justice in order to release all mankind from the condemnation that came through one man. — Romans 5:12-19; 1 Corinthians 15:21,22; 2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 Timothy 2:5,6; 1 Peter 3:18.

Because of Jesus’ human sacrifice for mankind, God’s Son is at center of mankind’s redemption. No one can come to the Heavenly Father as a Son of God, except through the application of Jesus’ human sacrifice on his behalf; thus, the necessity to come before the Most High only through the name of Jesus, he who died for us. (John 14:6) In coming to the Most High in the name of Jesus, however, this does not mean that Jesus’ name replaces the name of the Heavenly Father, for we, in Jesus name, should still pray for God’s name to be kept holy, — Luke 11:2. John wrote: “He who confesses the Son has the Father also.” (1 John 2:23) Thus to properly keep the name of Yahweh holy in our hearts, we should come Him only in the way He has provided, that is, in the name of our Lord Jesus.

         
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