What does In Jesus Name mean?

And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it. (John 14:13–14 KJV)

Skeptics can jump on this verse to claim Jesus lied — since presumably some prayer requests are denied. But what does “in Jesus name” mean? Can using those magic words transform God into your personal genie granting wishes?

In Jesus’ name means in His nature or after His characteristics — they’re not magic words to get whatever you want.

Look at it another way, suppose you decide to steal a car, and upon being caught, claim innocence because I told you to do it — you’re really just doing it in my name. But I would not justify your theft, so you can’t just tack on “in his name” and justify your actions — it’s outside the characteristics of the person you claim to act for.

Equally, you can’t make “in Jesus’ name” some magic words to justify anything you want. If you’re praying in Jesus’ name, you need to pray after His characteristics and His nature. Jesus didn’t promise to be a genie granting wishes; the promise contains a condition.

Like any good parent, God sometimes says no to ridiculous requests — any not in His characteristics, or in His name. The passage in John isn’t a blank check to get whatever you want, and it’s erroneous to believe so.

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