A Quick Peek Into the Book

Theologians have trouble finding words to describe passages like John 15:7 and similar verses such as John 14:12 and Matthew7:7-8. Klaus Issler who has written thoughtfully on these provocative sections of Scripture noticed that, “In response to this promise, evangelical commentators use words such as staggering, breathtaking, startling, astonishing. J.I. Packer remarked that, “In his farewell discourse to the apostles Jesus spoke more than once of making requests to the Father in his name—with astounding promises attached” and, “Amazing! But that is what Jesus says, and all his words are true.” The famous prayer servant George Müller put it this way, “Our difficulty seems to be this: the promise is so ‘exceeding great’ that we cannot conceive God really to mean what he clearly appears to have revealed. The blessing seems too vast for our comprehension; we stagger at the promises.”

The very next verse, John 15:8, is a wonderfully affirming statement from Jesus about the abiding and asking he just encouraged us to do. He said, “This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.” It’s as if the Father is standing outside the prayer room right now with a divine basket filled with every good thing you might need—spiritual gifts, personal insight, funding, ready helpers, ministry tools—to be productive in his Kingdom work. As New Testament scholar Frank Scott said over a century ago, “What a blessed promise this is to those who can fully appropriate it!”

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