My ESV Bible notes that in this section Jesus moves from personal temptations to interpersonal temptations.
- V2 – Wow. Depending on how judgemental you are this could be a threat or a promise. We love to judge each other. People make careers out of judging others! In God’s Kingdom there’s less judging and more grace and encouragement.
◊ If I could keep in mind that the same standards I hold others to will be held against me when I’m standing before God on judgement day, would I give people a lot more grace and mercy?
◊ Is it easy to magnify someone else’s faults while excusing my own? When did I last criticize someone? (This is an exercise in self-awareness.)
- V3-5 – I love Jesus’ sense of humor! These verses show that Jesus isn’t saying that we should never judge or call each other out, but before we do, we should examine our own lives and be very aware that we are also sinners in need of a Savior.
◊ Do I examine my own self for sin and character flaws as readily as I examine others?
◊ Is Jesus insinuating I shouldn’t correct my brother because I will always have “logs,” or is He encouraging me to keep others accountable as long as I hold myself to the same standard? (The 2nd, I think.)
◊ When I do need to call someone else out and hold them accountable, do I approach them as a fellow sinner in need of grace or as The Person Who Has All The Answers?
- V6 – What does this mean? It can’t mean that we shouldn’t preach the gospel to certain people because the angel (Luke 2:10) said the good news was for all people, and Jesus (Matt 28:19) said we are supposed to make disciples of all nations. The ESV Study Bible says “Don’t waste your time indefinitely proclaiming the gospel to those who adamantly reject it so you can move on to others” and the Message says “Don’t reduce holy mysteries to slogans. In trying to be relevant, you’re only being cute and inviting sacrilege.” I’m a little lost at the ESV note because the verse is literally at the end of a section about how we’re not supposed to judge. Maybe He’s delineating between judgment and discernment. Judgement would be judging what’s going on in a person’s heart, which only God can know, but discernment would be examining their “fruit” and using that to inform your decisions about how you talk and interact with that person.
◊ Father help me to control my thoughts. Let me see people the way You see them and not pass my own petty judgements on them. Give me wisdom and discernment as I make new relationships. Help me to mentor willing disciples in You kingdom ways, but if a person is pulling me away from You and rejecting Your truth, give me the courage to let go of that relationship.
- V7 – “Ask” is verbal and not too difficult. “Seek” is an action; a little more effort is involved. “Knock” is a persistent action, insisting on or pursuing something that has not been offered to you. The door is closed. Jesus says if we knock, it will be opened. Everyone who asks receives – this must be specific to asking for God’s Spirit and Salvation.
◊ I ask God for a lot. How do I seek for Him? How do I knock? How persistently do I pursue God for things I know would be within His will? I’m thinking specifically of praying for a neighbor’s or friend’s salvation.
- V9-11 – Know that God is a good Father and He’s not going to trick you or give you bad gifts when you’re asking for Him to provide. Just like He was saying in the last chapter! *Interesting comparison: Verse 11 is in Luke (11:13) and it is almost identical except that instead of saying “give good things to those who ask Him” it says “give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him.” I think that sheds a little more light on things…
- V11 – Being a parent has helped me understand the relationship between humans and God and how crazy-much God loves us 100 times better.
- V7-11 – Obviously, this promise doesn’t apply to just anything, but things that are God’s definition of “good gifts.” Many things that we would consider “good gifts” could actually take our time and attention away from God and tempt us toward pride, selfishness and other sins. In God’s Kingdom, my son’s extreme disobedience and bad attitude is a good gift because it drives me to start every day asking God to fill us with His Spirit and forces me to rely on God’s strength to get through each day. My son’s sin has driven me closer to God than anything else and I’m sure that if he was a really “good kid” I would’ve completely neglected to teach him about how we’re all sinners and , because we can’t be good enough on our own, we all need God’s grace and mercy, which was given to us when Jesus died for our sins. Hopefully, as God moves in his heart more and more (which I can definitely tell that He is) my son will have a solid understanding of the gospel and how much he needs Jesus instead of growing up like I did, thinking that, if I try hard enough, I can be “good enough” on my own.
◊ Is there a good gift God has given me that I didn’t recognize as “good” that I can thank God for? What good gift can I ask God for? (Write it down and make a note when your prayer is answered.)
- V12 – “The Law and the Prophets” is the whole Old Testament! The OT is summed up again, a little more fully, in Matthew 22:37-39
◊ What is something I wish someone would do for me that I could do for someone else today?
Wrap up your quiet time by praying through the following questions:
- Based on this passage of Scripture, what can I thank God for?
- What do these verses tell me about God and His character?
- Based on this passage, is there anything I need to confess to God and ask forgiveness for?
- What do these verses remind me to pray for others?
- What do these verses move me to pray for myself?