For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
The wording of this verse is interesting.
We have ‘everyone’ who asks, but then ‘the one’ who seeks, and ‘the one’ who knocks.
The Gospel writer Matthew appears to be drawing a distinction in people’s actions – lots of people ask, but only ones go through to the next levels.
It is easy to ask for things. Many of our prayers can sound suspiciously like our Christmas present list or a list of jobs for others to do.
Asking can be incredibly passive.
However, to seek and to knock requires us to act.
For everyone who asks – aiteó – a word which only occurs here and once more in Luke’s Gospel, they ask, beg, crave, desire, but they will – lambanó – receive or take.
But, the one who seeks – zéteó – desires, endeavours, seeks after in a sense of worship, finds – heuriskó – gets or obtains what they are seeking spiritually.
And, the one who knocks – krouó – literally knocks at a door, has the door – anoigó – opened for them.
The knocking and the door appears a bit of anti-climax after asking and receiving, followed by seeking and obtaining.
However, if you jump forward in Matthew’s Gospel to Chapter 25, you gain an insight into the what the door is which will be opened to you.
The parable of the ten virigins, as it is often known, uses the tradition of the bridegroom and his party arriving to escort the bride and the bridesmaids to the wedding feast as a comparison to expecting the Kingdom of God.
Due to the complexity of the various parts of the wedding traditions, the timing of the bridegroom’s arrival isn’t a set time. The role of the bridesmaids is to wait and announce his arrival to the bride.
However, in this instance some of the bridesmaids decide not to wait any longer and go inside, and are thus late to accompany the bridegroom. When they arrive at the wedding banquet, the door is already closed to them and won’t be opened.
Everyone ‘asks’ about the Kingdom of God and they are given responses, but too many of them will not wait, as some of the bridesmaids didn’t, then the ‘one’ – the few – who seek and continue to watch for the Lord enter the wedding banquet – the Kingdom – when the door is opened for them.
Asks-seeks-knocks is a three part action, which then leads to receiving, finding, and opening.
Receive the knowledge of God, seek to understand it, and then act to enter into the Kingdom.