The evolutionary archaeologists concocts a series of premises and hypotheses. He puts his dexterous mind to work and with a snap of the fingers, exclaims, “ah ha!” “All things continue as they have been,” “each layer of strata as a result represents X amount of years.” He busily goes about his work as a buzzing bee collecting data and brings it back to the queen (his research and pet project). Is this permissible in the scientific realm, what about history, what shall we liken the kingdom of history to? It is like a man who does not accept miracles and then goes about to demythologize the stories of Jesus. Or perhaps more close to home, some Churches develop the hypothesis that grace must exclude work and human activity; after this conclusion that busily go about collection data that fits this mold, dehydrating the new birth both historical, textual, and theological, because ambiguous passages are given ‘speculative’ application which contradict the rest of the ‘plain teaches of the new Testament.’
This method of interpretation has staged a coup and is marching to the gates of human reasoning with battering rams, only to retreat and leave a Trojan horse at the very gates. I prefer the epistemology of love, throwing a feast and inviting the lame, blind, poor, the wealthy and great, instead of inviting only those who can repay me back. In other words, I believe we should not only allow our familiar friends (data) over but those we do not quite understand, in order to make the banquet interesting. In stead of concluding in advance based on our favorite passages that prayer can only be offered to God, only to be faced with new evidence, and not including it because of non-elite membership.
We simply must believe the simplest conclusions that allows all the data in, (textual, socio-historical, and theological), resisting the urge to dig our heels in the ground, when we are being lead to water. Beginning first with the textual, I did show that some of the variants attest to reading number two, but I also showed that the only witnesses were of the Byzantine family and one caesarean, the earliest being the fifth century and the second earliest being in the eighth and ninth centuries. Though it has support, the support is sketchy. Reading number one also has Byzantine witnesses, a fifth century document and the queen of cursives which is ninth century.
Furthermore it has family witness of all but western, including our two best manuscripts and the earliest extant witness of John 14:14, P66, a second century document (This explains why the KJV and NKJV do not have ‘me’,’ they did not have access to early manuscripts, and P66 was not published until 1952, 50 years after the ASV was published.) The point is all our early data points to this reading being in the text the early church used in prayer, preaching, and practice. The change comes in the fifth century when professional scribes began harmonizing the text (which is a trait of Byzantine). I say this tongue in cheek, perhaps Jason found a time machine that could only go back to the year 500 AD, attempted to read John 14, and upon noticing that it did not harmonize, according to his liking, to other verses, edited the text.
Now moving along to the internal, I note the following, the reason “if you ask me anything in my name” has better internal evidence is primarily because it harder to explain, it is far easier to explain why a scribe would want to change John 14:14; they would come to the text with a theological bias, and say the last scribe inserted ‘me’ which appears to contradict John 16:23 and other passages, let me harmonize this passage with the rest of them (does this sound familiar?). It will not do to speculate, that a scribe wanted to add ”me’ to the text, without offering a probable reason why. Are we to assume that scribes were devilish fiends who sought to cause saints to be condemned by praying to Jesus? What reason would a scribe have to do this? I suggest a better explanation is that of harmonization and not deliberate contamination. It is a hypothesis that makes better sense of the external and internal data and the scribal transmission.
Now, moving on to the alleged contradiction. The infamous contradiction between John 14:14 and John 16:23. Do these versus really contradict? Do they really even speak of the same thing? No and No. A head-on exegesis of John 13-16 is out of the scope of this discussion, but I want to bring up something that is often overlooked especially by those oppose to praying to our Messiah. In John 14:14 Jesus is talking about asking for things in prayer but in John 16:23 Jesus is talking about asking a question, to clear up confusion. See if I am making this up.
The immediate context of John 16:23 deals with the apostles puzzling over Jesus’ statement, “yet a little while and you will see me no more, again in a little while you will see me again.” Jesus, hearing the quiet chatter knew they want to ‘erotan’ (ask a question), answered, but then assured them that latter on (when the Spirit of Truth came who would guide them into all truth and bring back everything to their remembrance) they would no longer need Jesus around to ask questions when they were puzzled, as they were in the past, because the Spirit would provide the answers. In John 14:14 and John 16:24 he is speaking of asking (aiteo) for things in prayer and Jesus and the Father giving to those who ask. As I argued before, ” Furthermore, in Johannine literature, Jesus describes the person who is answering a request as the person being requested (John 11:22; John 15:16 John 16:23). Thus, when Jesus states, “he will do it” we have reason to believe that he is the one being entreated (and I might add whether the “me” is present or not).” Without explaining every verse that you cited I will offer the following argument.
1. If we are authorized to pray to Jesus and if we are authorized to pray to the Father, then we are authorized to pray to Jesus and the Father
2. We are authorized to pray to Jesus (John 14:14)
3. We are authorized to pray to the Father (John 15:24)
4. Therefore we are authorized to pray to Jesus and the Father
You are arguing that if Jesus says we can pray to one then that must eliminate that we can pray to Him. Which as shown above is fallacious, both 2 and 3 are true, therefore the conclusion is true by conjunction.
Why does Christ’s as Mediator some how exclude our communiating with him? Moses was the mediator for the Jews (Exodus 20; 32:31-33) yet the people entreated him personally (Exodus 20:19). Furthermore, why do we assume that his work as mediator automatically means he “mediates our prayers.” Jesus, the man, is the mediator between God and man–that is– he reconciles the two (1 Timothy 2:4-6), there isn’t a hint of him mediating prayers in that text.
Is John 14:14 for us? We too hastily disregard John 13-16 because there are element of miracles involved. Following this reasoning, we are no longer to wash each other’s feet (service), nor to love one another as Christ loved us, we do not have a place prepared for us, we are not branches, in fact, even asking the Father things in Jesus name must be limited to the miraculous. This interpretation strains the data to hard, we are trying to force the horse to drink from a polluted stream, and I am afraid the text is digging its heels into the ground. Suppose we could take a time machine back and read the text, how early do we need to go back? Is the 2nd century not early enough? Perhaps if we read it straight off the press of John’s pen, would this suffice as evidence enough? What if John actually did write what we have in the earliest manuscripts, how would you understand it, should we cry contradiction?