Jesus shared some hard things to those listening that day. Being faced with our own prejudices is hard, and I’m sure they were struggling, as perhaps we all are by his words about planks and hypocrites, dogs and pigs. I’m grateful that he moves back to a more tender topic in the coming verses of chapter 7:
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, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. Who among you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask him. Therefore, whatever you want others to do for you, do also the same for them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.Matthew 7:7-12 CSB
Before he rebuked us about judgment, Jesus had been speaking about treasures in heaven and worry over the things of this life. In a way, he goes back to that now. Instead of being like the dogs and pigs who despise the things of God, all we have to do is ask, seek, and knock.
The God Jesus reveals is generous to those who seek him.
Have you ever received a warm welcome? You knock on the door, and the host flings it open with a wide smile at your presence on his doorstep. It’s like they’ve been waiting in anticipation for you. Not only are you welcomed with open arms, but a feast has been prepared for your arrival. Everything that is done is from a heart that looked forward to your visit.
I think Jesus shocked the crowd that day by this revelation, though it should not have come as a surprise. The Old Testament is full of stories of God’s intense desire for his people to seek him out and ask for what only he could give. The entire book of Hosea is about God’s longing for his wayward people to knock at the door.
Jesus reminds them that God, as their Heavenly Father, is much like their earthly ones. Would a father give his son a stone when he asks for bread? A snake instead of a fish? If earthly fathers provide for their children, will your Heavenly Father not also meet your needs?
Why do we worry when we only have to ask?
And if we know to seek first his kingdom, to seek him for all our needs, then when someone asks us, we should be just as generous in our response. That’s when Jesus throws a challenge:
In EVERYTHING…do it. Do to others as you would have them do to you…in everything.
God has paved the way, opened wide the door of welcome and love to all who seek him. When I do the same to others, I’m meeting the requirements of the Law and the Prophets—I’m living the kind of righteousness that surpasses that of the Pharisees and teachers.
A little act of kindness goes a long way when it’s done as a reflection of Christ’s work in us.
Grace and Peace