Jesus now turns from his teaching about judging to a short section on making requests of God. Several parts of this section have been very commonly quoted in the tradition I come from, although maybe not well understood. And the end of the passage is likely one of the most well-known passages in the Bible. And it contains a significant promise that God makes to us. Ask, seek, and knock. And, if we do, we will receive, find, and the door will be opened.
Ask, Seek, and Knock
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.Matthew 7:7-8 NIV
Jesus tells us to ask, to seek, and to knock. I think the three of these are essentially the same thing but looked at from different perspectives. The one I am asking, the one who has what I seek, and the one whose door I am knocking on are all implied to be God.
Ask and Receive
Jesus tells me to ask of God. And, if I do, I will receive what I ask. But is that all there is to it? If I ask for a new car, will it be parked in the driveway next time I go out front? I do not believe that is the case. The receiving is really conditional. In the verses discussed below, it would seem that it is God’s children who are doing the asking. If you are not a part of God’s family, then this does not apply. And he is giving good gifts to his children. Not all that we might ask for would be good for us, even though we might think so. God will give us what will help us to develop properly as his children.
Seek and Find
Seeking implies a search rather than a simple request. From my own perspective, this relates to seeking God’s will in my life. There are both short-term and long-term aspects to this. What does God want me to be doing today? Or this week? And, what direction does God want me to take in my life? Writing and managing this blog is a result of seeking, and God revealing. Be always seeking, and receptive to God’s leading in your life.
Knock to Open
Jesus tells us that when we knock, the door will be opened. But what is the door we are knocking on? It may be that these doors are opportunities, or areas of service. We frequently use the expression of open and closed doors in relation to a direction that was closed to me, or one that opened. I have had areas in the past where I served, that are no longer open to me. But, when that door closed, another always opened.
We may knock on many doors while seeking the direction God has for us. But we can rest assured that he will open the appropriate door for us. Continue to knock until that door opens, and then enter into the opportunity it presents.
Giving Good Gifts
Matthew 7:9-12 NIV
“Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.
After instructing us to ask of God, Jesus compares God’s generosity with that of a human father. As a human father, I was inclined to provide my children with what they needed. I gave them what was good for them.
How much more will God do this for his children? We can count on him to give us, not always what we want or think we need, but what we really do need. The gifts that he gives are the best that can be given. We may not always recognize them as what we really need. But he knows us better than we do ourselves. He knows his plans for us and what we need to be prepared for them. And he knows our future and what will best equip us for success in that future.
The Golden Rule
The last instruction given here is commonly identified as the Golden Rule. Jesus tells me that I should treat other people the way that I want to be treated myself. All too often, I focus on how I am not treated the way I would like to be. But, rather than be put out by that, I should take it as an opportunity to learn how I should be treating others. If I don’t like it being done to me, then I should not do it to others. On the other hand, if I like the way I am being treated, It should tell me how I should be treating others.
Jesus then says that this sums up the Law and the Prophets, essentially what we call the Old Testament. In Matthew 22:34-40 Jesus is asked about the greatest commandment. He replies by quoting from Deuteronomy 6:5 and Leviticus 19:18 that loving God with all I am and others as myself are the greatest commands. And that all the Law and Prophets hang on these two. So, it would seem, this golden rule is simply another way of expressing our need to love God and those around us.
- An Introduction to the Sermon on the Mount
- Sermon on the Mount: The Beatitudes – Matthew 5:3-12
- Sermon on the Mount: Salt and Light – Matthew 5:13-16
- Sermon on the Mount: Understanding the Law – Matt. 5:17-20
- Sermon on the Mount: Resolving Conflict – Matthew 5:21-26
- Sermon on the Mount: Committing Adultery – Matthew 5:27-30
- Sermon on the Mount: Divorce – Matthew 5:31-32
- Sermon on the Mount: Taking Oaths – Matthew 5:33-37
- Sermon on the Mount: Turn the Other Cheek – Matt. 5:38-42
- Sermon on the Mount: Love Your Enemies – Matthew 5:43-48
- Sermon on the Mount: Give to the Needy – Matthew 6:1-4
- Sermon on the Mount: How to Pray – Matthew 6:5-8
- Sermon on the Mount: the Model Prayer – Matthew 6:9-15
- Sermon on the Mount: Fasting – Matthew 6:16-18
- Sermon on the Mount: Treasure in Heaven – Matthew 6:19-24
- Sermon on the Mount: Do Not Worry – Matthew 6:25-34
- Sermon on the Mount: Do Not Judge – Matthew 7:1-6
- Sermon on the Mount: Ask, Seek, and Knock – Matthew 7:7-12
- Sermon on the Mount: Narrow and Wide Gates – Matt. 7:13-14
- Sermon on the Mount: False Prophets – Matt. 7:15-20
- Sermon on the Mount: True and False Disciples – Matt. 7:21-23
- Sermon on the Mount: Build on Rock or Sand? – Matt 7:24-27