Malankara World

Sermons Based on the Lectionary of the Syrian Orthodox Church

2nd Sunday after Shunoyo - the Festival of Assumption

Ask, Seek, Knock and Good Gifts

by Brian Stoffregen, Faith Lutheran Church, Marysville, CA

Gospel: St. Luke 11: 9 -20, Matthew 7:7-11

This section is also found in Matthew 7:7-11. There it is not connected with the Lord's Prayer (6:9-13). The "ask, seek, knock" are virtually identical in both Gospels. There are a number of differences in the "good gifts" section (listed below). The two sections are connected by the words "to give" and "to ask". Both occur five times in the verses.

"Asking, seeking, knocking" in vv. 9 & 10 are present tense = "keep on asking, seeking, and knocking" or "continue to ask, seek, and knock." Perhaps like a young child badgering his parents until s/he gets what is wanted. This would seem to connect with the persistence talked about in the previous parable and in 18:1-8.

The "you's" in v. 9 are all plural, but the subjects in v. 10 are singular!

Note that there is no mention of believing in these verses for an answer. It seems to be the persistent actions of asking, seeking, and knocking. It would seem that the persistent prayer of an unbeliever is answerable, but if someone were praying, could they be called an unbeliever? It is never said what the "it" is that we receive, find, or is opened for us.

Luke present the pairs: fish/snake; egg/scorpion

Matthew has: bread/stone; fish/snake.

Luke's pair of snake & scorpion was used earlier in 10:19 as symbols of the power of the enemy. Perhaps symbols of evil in contrast with the good gifts of v. 13.

Luke's conclusion: the Father will give the Holy Spirit to those asking him

Matt.'s conclusion: the Father will give good things to those asking him

Is Luke trying to say that "the Holy Spirit" is undefined "it" of the earlier answers?

I think that Luke is saying that those who have asked for the Holy Spirit can be certain that God has given it to them, whether or not they speak in tongues, have had an emotional high, or seen a bright light. It also prepares the readers for the events and Pentecost and the Spirit's work throughout the Book of Acts.

How do we deal with these verses and the reality of some of our people who have spent many years asking and seeking and knocking and received nothing for their efforts? How do we honestly preach these verses and just as honestly reflect the frustrations of many pray-ers?

See Also:

Sermons and Bible Commentary/Analysis for the 2nd sunday after Shunoyo

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