Some key messages have to be repeated. Sir Terry Leahy (CEO of Tesco from 1997 to 2011) was apparently once asked, ‘What was the hardest bit of your job?’ and replied, ‘Saying the same thing, day after day, for 15 years’.
In this short passage, Jesus has a message that he wants his followers to understand. It is such an important message, and apparently so difficult for them to grasp, that Jesus essentially repeats himself three times over. He says, ‘Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you’. God is never mentioned, but it is clear what Jesus means. He means that God is on our side, altogether more committed to us, bound up in us and wanting to lavish his love upon us, than we have any idea. Jesus is saying, ‘Ask God, your loving creator, and it will be given to you; seek him, and you will find; knock on his door, and it will be opened’. Occasioanlly, I suppose, it might be a relief to knock on a door and get no answer — but mostly, especially if we need help, it’s a great disappointment. Jesus is encouraging his followers — he is encouraging us, to believe with all our hearts that God has a good will and purpose for us that will be fulfilled. We have only to trust ourselves to him.
And not content with saying the same thing three times over, in case we haven’t got the message, Jesus repeats himself once more: ‘For everyone who asks’, he says, ‘receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.’
The point we find so hard to grasp, the point Jesus found it necessary to labour, is that our Heavenly Father is generous. It is in the nature of God to give.
What Jesus does not go on to say here, but might easily have done, is that, since we are made in God’s image, we are most fully human, most fully ourselves when we too are generous, and when we give.