9 “Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? 11 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!” (Matthew 7:9-11 ESV).
Today’s text is in the immediate context of Jesus’ teaching on asking, seeking and knocking in prayer to God the Father. Believers in Christ are to persistently ask God for strength and conviction to not hypocritically judge people and to discern when to leave people who mock and reject the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Jesus promised that God the Father would answer our prayers (asking, seeking and knocking) when we desire to be godly men and women of the kingdom of God.
Jesus gave reasons why the believer in Christ can trust His words concerning prayer. It is because God the Father’s loving character. He is ready, willing and able to give good things to His spiritual children. Jesus used a series of rhetorical questions to assure us that God hears us when we pray.
Jesus’ questions concerned the way an earthly father behaves. “Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone?” While there are exceptions to the rule, most parents give their children the former and not the latter.
The same can be said in Jesus’ next statement. “Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent?” No loving earthly father is going to give his son a snake instead of a fish.
Jesus then summarized His questions with an argument from the lesser to the greater. “If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!”
“The simple argument contains vital lessons about people and about Jesus. First, when Jesus says, ‘If you then, who are evil…’ (ESV), he assumes, as the whole Bible does, that all humans are sinful,” explains commentator Daniel M. Doriani. “We are members of a race of sinners. We are radically selfish, inclined to rebel against God and to do evil toward our fellow man.”
“But Jesus says that even sinful people can do what is right. Their hearts may be dark, but parents still care tenderly for their children. If human parents crippled by evil, still treat their children well, then God, who is good, will certainly give good gifts to his children.”
Soli deo Gloria!