Daily Verse – Receive, Find, Open.

For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.

Matthew 7:8 NIVUK

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.

The Daily Verse – Acts 20:7

On the first day of the week we came together to break bread. Paul spoke to the people and, because he intended to leave the next day, kept on talking until midnight. – NIVUK

Acts 20:7

When you meet with people what do you talk about?

Do you remember the last time you talked until late into the night?

The Apostle Paul was travelling from Philippi, in Greece, back towards Jerusalem.

His journey takes him through Toras, which is in modern Turkey.

Paul stays there with believers for seven days and there is clearly much he wants to say to them.

If we look at the Apostle’s letters to the churches in the New Testament we can gain an idea of many of the things he might have discussed with them.

We are told about a specific day, however. The first day of the week.

Remember this would be a Sunday, as the Jewish Sabbath was counted from Friday evening to Saturday evening.

It is thought that early Christians would still worship in the Synagogues but then meet the following day to break bread and share their faith in Jesus.

Clearly the act of breaking bread was taken from the Last Supper, but when it is frequently mentioned there is generally no reference to the wine.

The believers come together in the remembrance of Jesus and share food and speak of their lives in faith.

Paul has much to tell them and talks with them until midnight.

Again, referring to his letters, it is easy to surmise that Paul could talk until midnight just by himself, but it is far more likely that he was also being asked questions, perhaps asked for his judgement in matters, encouraged to share more stories of other believers and the works of God.

Think about today or, if it is still early, yesterday.

How many people did you talk to? Was it face to face, or via digital technology of some variety?

What did you talk about?

Were any of your conversations with other believers? How much of your conversations were focused on God?

I am sure that the Apostle Paul did talk about other things than the Faith in Christ, but I bet it wasn’t very long before he brought the conversation back around to God.

Paul tells us in a couple of places in Acts that he was zealous for the Law. The Jewish Torah and the Laws were given by God to the people to remind them of how to stay faithful to God.

Paul is no less zealous for the Faith in Jesus after his conversion on the road to Damascus.

The Apostle knows that God and God’s Word should be at the centre of everything you think and say and do. Jesus was the perfect example of this and Paul is trying to imitate him.

Also remember that the Gospels were beginning to be written around this time (Matthew and Mark in the 50’s AD and Luke more likely the 60’s AD) and it is unlikely that places such as Troas had received a full story of Jesus’ life yet without it being given verbally.

Your conversations with fellow Christians are likely to be more engrained in the Faith, and conversations with other people more societally based.

Paul talked with strangers and told them about Jesus. When he met the faithful, he still talked about Jesus.

It may not always be appropriate to tell people about Jesus, but it is appropriate for us to reference our lives by him. We see this most obviously with sports people who make the sign of the cross or point heavenward when something positive happens.

Consider your conversations and where Jesus and God fits into them.

Talk more with believers, even late into the night as Paul did, about Jesus and faith and living your life in both.