Letter from John Woodhouse

Dear friends

Has the resurrection of Jesus made a difference to your prayers?

A strange question, but on the night before he died, Jesus said to his followers:

… you have sorrow now, but I will see you again and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you. In that day you will ask nothing of me. Truly, truly I say to you, whatever you ask of the Father in my name, he will give it to you. Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full. (John 16:22-24)

The prayers of Jesus’ followers were transformed by his resurrection. “In that day,” he said, “you will ask of the Father in my name.” They had not done so previously. “Until now you have asked nothing in my name.”

To ask the Father “in the name of Jesus” means that Jesus is the Mediator between us and God the Father. In Old Testament times the faithful among the Israelites certainly prayed to God. However the priest alone entered the sanctuary, wearing a garment on which the names of all the tribes of Israel were inscribed (see Exodus 28:9-11). The people would stand in the court and make their prayers “through” the priest. He would “bear their names before the Lord” (Exodus 28:12).

This arrangement was given to Israel by God as “a shadow of the good things to come” (Hebrews 10:1). The Lord Jesus Christ is the “high priest of the good things to come” (Hebrews 9:11). After dealing once and for all with the problem of our sins, “he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high” (Hebrews 1:3; 8:1; 12:2). There he intercedes for us (Romans 8:34).

It was a privilege beyond words for the Israelites to be granted access to God through the priesthood of the sons of Aaron. How much more should we rejoice in what our Mediator makes possible!

Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:16).

Your brother in our Lord Jesus

John Woodhouse
(Acting Senior Minister)