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Summary: Based on the Lectionary readings for the 5th Sunday in Easter (Acts 9:26-31; 1 John 3:18-24; John 15:1-8). Jesus says that we can ask anything from God and receive it. 1 John explains it, and Acts shows the consequence.

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Jesus said to his disciples:

"I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine grower.

He takes away every branch in me that does not bear fruit,

and every one that does he prunes so that it bears more fruit.

You are already pruned because of the word that I spoke to you.

Remain in me, as I remain in you.

Just as a branch cannot bear fruit on its own

unless it remains on the vine,

so neither can you unless you remain in me.

I am the vine, you are the branches.

Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit,

because without me you can do nothing.

Anyone who does not remain in me

will be thrown out like a branch and wither;

people will gather them and throw them into a fire

and they will be burned.

If you remain in me and my words remain in you,

ask for whatever you want and it will be done for you.

By this is my Father glorified,

that you bear much fruit and become my disciples."

This passage contains within it an extraordinary promise. “Ask for whatever you want and it will be done for you.”

Jesus is saying ask God for anything and you’ll get it. And the reason why you’ll get it, is because God is glorified by giving you what you want. Therefore, ask, and you shall receive. That’s the promise.

But this is a promise that will make unbelievers scoff and will make many believers sad. Unbelievers scoff because they don’t believe; therefore, this is a decidedly unbelievable claim. But why would it make many believers sad? Because many believers asked from God, but they didn’t receive. Many believers have become unbelievers because they listened to these words and asked God for what they wanted and it never came. And they decided that God may be good at laying down the rules by which we have to live, but He doesn’t seem to be so good at living by the rules He laid down for Himself.

But the statement of “Ask for whatever you want and it will be done for you” has a qualification that usually goes unnoticed. Some may think that qualification is that you have to ask it in Jesus’ name, but Jesus doesn’t say that here. Jesus just says “ask” and God will give it. So what’s the qualification to get from God when you ask?

If you remain in me and my words remain in you,

ask for whatever you want and it will be done for you.

We, the branches, must remain in Jesus, the vine. If we do then we can ask anything from God and receive it because:

Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit,

because without me you can do nothing.

But if we do not remain in Jesus we will wither and die and ultimately be destroyed:

Anyone who does not remain in me

will be thrown out like a branch and wither;

people will gather them and throw them into a fire

and they will be burned.

The bearing of the fruit is linked to receiving what we ask. God is glorified when we bear fruit, and we bear fruit when God gives us anything we ask. Therefore, to get what you want from God, you must remain in Jesus and He in you, and if you do, you will ask anything and receive, because the fruit you bear will be tied to the abundance you receive. You can’t give what you don’t have, so God will give you in abundance so you can give in abundance.


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