Rabbi Yeshua encouraged His disciples to ask, seek and knock. The ask-seek-knock saying prefaces a discussion about prayer. Yeshua encouraged His disciples to be persistent in prayer, confident that God answers:
"Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened" (Matt. 7:7-8)
The "one who asks" refers to the one who asks the Father in prayer, as James the brother of the Master explained, "You do not have, because you do not ask" (James 4:2). The rabbis teach, "An answer to prayer is connected to the calling, and calling is connected to the answer" (y.Ta'anit 67a).
The "one who seeks" is a person who seeks the LORD, as the Torah says in Deuteronomy 4:29, "You will seek the LORD your God, you will find Him, if you seek Him with all your heart and with all your soul." The prophet Isaiah adds, "Seek the LORD while He may be found; call you upon Him while He is near" (Is. 55:6). In the Talmud, Rabbi Yitzchak said, "If a man tells you, 'I have sought hard in Torah but I have not found,' do not believe him ... If he says, 'I have sought hard and I have found, you may believe him.'" (b.Megillah 6b).
The "one who knocks" is the one who seeks entrance into the kingdom of heaven. He knocks at the narrow gate, and the door opens up for him. "He knocked at the gates of mercy and they were opened for him" (b.Megillah 12b). In the kingdom, God will answer prayer quickly and in a revealed manner:
"Before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear" (Is. 65:24).
"Then you shall call, and the LORD shall answer; you shall cry, and He shall say, Here I am" (Is. 58:9a).
One who petitions God in prayer should do so as a child speaking to his father. If a son asked his earthly father for a loaf of bread, the father would not give his son an inedible stone. If he asked him for a fish, he would not give him a snake—an unclean animal that the Torah prohibits Jews from eating. "Or if he asks for an egg, will you offer him a scorpion?" (Luke 11:12b). Yeshua's logic proceeds from the light matter to the more serious matter. Yeshua said, "If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things o those who ask Him!" (Matt. 7:11, NKJV).
Daniel Thomas Lancaster is a writer, teacher and the Director of Education at the Messianic ministry of First Fruits of Zion (www.ffoz.org), an international ministry with offices in Israel, Canada and the USA, bringing Messianic Jewish teaching to Christians and Jews. He is the author of several books about the Jewish roots of Christianity and the Jewishness of the New Testament, and he is the author of the Torah Club Bible study program (torahclub.org). He also serves as the teaching pastor at Beth Immanuel (bethimmanuel.org), a Messianic Jewish synagogue in Hudson, Wisconsin. Daniel can be reached at [email protected].
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