Once Jesus rises from the dead and ascends back to the Father, the disciples are given the simple instruction, at the end of John 16:24 to ask and they will receive with the result that their joy would be made full. In ch.15, this full joy was promised to the disciples as a result of abiding in the Father’s love by keeping his commandments. Here in 16:24, it’s the result of asking and receiving all that they need from the Father.
This begs the question: Why is this most often not a means of joy for us? What prevents this from resulting in joy for us is that we oftentimes underestimate the unspeakable privilege of having access to the Father, forgetting that it’s a stated purpose of the Son’s work in many Scriptures, such as…Eph. 2:12 remember that you were at that time separate from Christ, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14 For He Himself is our peace…17 And He came and preached peace to you who were far away, and peace to those who were near; 18 for through Him we both have our access in one Spirit to the Father…
So how can we take advantage of this joy-producing, blood-bought privilege?
1) We must take our requests to God—Luke 11:9 So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks, receives; and he who seeks, finds; and to him who knocks, it will be opened. 11 Now suppose one of you fathers is asked by his son for a fish; he will not give him a snake instead of a fish, will he? 12 Or if he is asked for an egg, he will not give him a scorpion, will he? 13 If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him? Instead of asking God for spiritual help to faithfully endure, we often worry or complain about our situations. These are the alternatives the Apostle Paul puts forth in Php. 4:6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 2) We must ask in line with God’s will and not our own—James 4:3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures. The point of making requests to the Lord is not to get him to do what we want, but to direct our thinking to what he wants; namely that which is in accordance with his revealed will in the Scriptures. Another way to ask with wrong motives is to assume that the only way God could answer a prayer is the specific way you think is the most favorable and beneficial. How would we possibly know what is best for his glory and the overall good of his people? His ways and thoughts are higher than ours, which is why we go to him with our requests, and the ability to do that was purchased by Christ. When we do this faithfully, we should then, like the Psalmist in Ps. 43, realize that when God sends his light and truth, that is meant to bring us closer to God, who himself is our exceeding joy, since he is the source of all that is holy and good. No wonder Jesus supplies the promise of complete fullness of joy.