1st week in Lent, Thursday – 5th March 2020 – Matthew 7,7-12
Greater assurance for doing God’s purposes
This section reminds disciples of their focus on God and reassures them of God’s gracious response in providing them with the necessary good things (7,11; 6,8 & 32). The language of asking, seeking and knocking is not exclusively the language of prayer, though it is that, but is language that describes a lifestyle of focusing on and doing God’s purposes of building His kingdom. The two rhetorical questions (7,9-10) evokes household experience, common to males in the audience (what man and his son). These questions may look strange, but the Palestinian fish called “barbut” resembles a serpent, and a loaf of small round peasant bread looks like a stone. Even human fathers, sinful and selfish though they may be, naturally delight and faithfully fulfill the household duties to provide for the child without harming him, especially their basic food (6,11). Even more so is this true of God, the Father. The argument proceeds from human to divine behaviour, from an earthly father to the heavenly Father, from the lesser to the greater, from those who are evil to one who is good. The greater assurance is that God knows the needs of the community of disciples, especially everything disciples need to live the challenging identity and lifestyle created by the presence and future completion of God’s kingdom.