Seek and you will find

The Sermon on the Mount is the longest sermon that Jesus delivered during His earthly ministry. This was spoken in the early days of His ministry. This is the best of His sermons and may be one of the most popular sermons in the world. Matthew, the gospel writer, has recorded it carefully in his book, chapter 5 to 7. Jesus delivered this message on a high place somewhere near the North West part of the Sea of Galilee. The exact place is not known. But it might have happened in a geographical area between Capernaum and Gennesaret. The Sermon is the gist of all His teachings. It is the manifesto of the Kingdom of God. It contains the values of the Kingdom of God.

Sermon on the Mount and Mount Sinai

The Jewish audience of Jesus could easily find a similarity between the Sermon on the Mount and the event on the Mount Sinai in the Old Testament. For the Jews those who believed in Jesus, He was the expected Messiah. They expected Him to restore a political kingdom for the Israelites.

Matthew also was aware of this similarities. He wanted his readers to remember the event on Mount Sinai and connect Jesus’s sermon with it. Matthew was presenting a new Law giver.

Matthew was writing the gospel for a Jewish audience. So he was careful to follow all Jewish traditions for narrating stories about God and interpreting God’s words. The kingdom of heaven was the long expectation of the Jews. And Matthew, very purposefully, introduces the Kingdom of heaven in his gospel. Matthew was telling them that Jesus has inaugurated the Kingdom and they are already living in it. He successfully contrasts the expectation of the Jews for a political kingdom and the spiritual kingdom of Jesus Christ.  

The concept of the Kingdom of God is not a new idea introduced by John the Baptist or Jesus. It was the promise and hope of the Jews from the Old Testament period. For them it was a political kingdom. They expected a king who would defeat all the enemies of the Israelites and will restore the Promised Land as promised by God to Abraham, Jacob, Moses and Joshua. They will have a prosperous and peaceful kingdom thereafter. And it will perpetuate for ever. This was the hope of the Jews.

The Kingdom Jesus announced is a manifestation and an earthly fulfilment of the promises in the Old Testament. But it was different from the Jewish concept. The Kingdom that the Jews expected was exclusively for the Israelites, but Jesus announced a kingdom for all people who believes in Him. He invited the gentiles also to inherit the kingdom. The Kingdom of the Jewish expectation is earthly, but the kingdom of Jesus is not from this world. It is a mystery now and will be revealed in future in the New Jerusalem. The Jewish Kingdom is based on the Mosaic Law. Whereas the kingdom of Jesus is based on the values of the kingdom. Laws and values are same and different. Laws are commandments spoken by God, while the values contain the heart and longings of the law giver. The values of the Kingdom tells the people how they should live to fulfil the desire of the king. The kingdom of the Old Testament is inherited by righteous works and sacraments. But the kingdom of Jesus is inherited by faith in Jesus Christ.

As I said before, the kingdom of God announced by Jesus is not a new kingdom or a new concept. It is an Old Testament promise to the forefathers of the Israelites. It actually is not a political concept, it is a state where God is the only supreme king and His elected people are the royal priests. This promise is progressive and manifested partially during the desert life of the Israelites, the reign of King David and Solomon. The declaration of the kingdom and the laws happened in the desert, on Mount Sinai. King David expanded the geographical territories of the kingdom and established a peaceful nation. Solomon had a prosperous and peaceful period. But all these were only partial manifestations, a shadow of things to come.

Jesus was not announcing another manifestation of the kingdom of God, but He was inaugurating the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom continues to exist after His announcement which will have a complete fulfilment in the New Jerusalem. New Jerusalem is the New Heaven and New Earth that will be created after this earth and its atmosphere are gone. There the kingdom of God will be established for ever.

The Kingdom has come

As we have already learned, the Sermon on the Mount evokes the reminiscence of the magnificent incident happened on the Mount Sinai. There God called Moses as a representative of all Israelites to meet Him. God declared a new kingdom where God is the king and Israelites are His own people. God handed over to the Israelites through Moses, the laws of the kingdom. The laws were attached with blessings and curses. It is the only kingdom proclaimed by God and established by a covenant between God and man. Moses read out all the laws of the kingdom and the people accepted it by saying “Amen”. Thus a covenant was made between the Israelites and God. The kingdom came into being.

But tragically that kingdom failed. Israelites could not keep the laws and they were unfaithful to the Heavenly King. The covenant was broken. That necessitated, once again, the restoration and reestablishment of the kingdom by a Messiah. And in the New Testament, Jesus is claiming that He is the long waited Messiah.

Jesus started His ministry near Galilee at Capernaum declaring that the kingdom of God has come. Mark 1: 14 and 15 say that, after John the Baptist was imprisoned, Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God. Jesus announced: "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel." (1: 15 - NKJV).

Here let us stop for a while to have a biblical understanding of the word “gospel”. What does “gospel” mean?

The word “gospel” means good news. But in the biblical background the word bears more meaning than mere “good news”. The Old Testament word, “basar” is translated into Greek Septuagint Bible as “euangelizo”, which means to evangelize. (baw-sar - Strong's Hebrew Lexicon Number - 01319). Evangelize is to preach the good news or to preach the euangelion (yoo-ang-ghel-ion - Greek). The Hebrew word “basar” means “to announce the good news about the victory in a war”. We find this word in 1 Samuel 31: 9 and 2 Samuel 18: 19 and in some other occasions. Everywhere, basar is the declaration of the good news about the victory in war against an enemy. That means, the word “gospel” is a war term which means not simply announcing some good news, but declaring the good news about the victory in war against the enemy. It is not simply that all sinners are saved, but it carries the good news that the enemy satan is defeated and the kingdom of God has won the war. So the kingdom of God has been established. When Jesus said, “the kingdom of God is at hand”, He did not mean that it is somewhat near, by space or time. Jesus was announcing that the kingdom has already come.

After this historical announcement, he called his disciples and started His earthly ministry. He preached and taught about the kingdom. Moreover he manifested the presence of the Kingdom through signs and wonders. All signs and wonders He performed was a proof that the new kingdom has defeated the old satanic kingdom and the new one has established its authority and power. The Kingdom of God started reigning.

The ending words of Matthew 4 summarises all Jesus’s activities up to the time.


Matthew 4: 23 – 25 (NKJV)

23 And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease among the people.

24 Then His fame went throughout all Syria; and they brought to Him all sick people who were afflicted with various diseases and torments, and those who were demon-possessed, epileptics, and paralytics; and He healed them.

25 Great multitudes followed Him--from Galilee, and from Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea, and beyond the Jordan.

The Sermon on the Mount comes as a continuation of all these events. That is: the King has come, He has announced the inauguration of His Kingdom, and He manifested the presence and authority of His kingdom through signs and wonders. And many people joined Him. It is the apt time for proclaiming the values of the kingdom to its citizens.  

Mathew 5: 1 and 2 say, “And seeing the multitudes, He went up on a mountain, and when He was seated His disciples came to Him. Then He opened His mouth and taught them”. This is the historic occasion of the Sermon on the Mount. That means that everything that Jesus going to speak is about the Kingdom of God.

Jesus on the Mount

As I told already, the whole incident is a replica of the great event in the wilderness of Sinai. Moses, on behalf of the whole Israelites went up on the mountain. And God appeared on the mountain and declared a manifestation of the Kingdom of God. Here, Jesus goes up on the mountain and declares the inauguration of His Kingdom. Moses received the laws of the Kingdom. Jesus proclaimed the values of the kingdom. Moses’s laws were written on stone tablets. Jesus wrote His laws in the heart of His people. The Mosaic laws were hard to obey and keep and hence the Israelites failed to fulfil God’s purpose. Jesus promised to provide a helper who will empower His people to live according to His value systems. The helper Jesus promised is the Holy Spirit who came upon His people to dwell on them permanently.

Israelites in the desert heard all the laws read out to them and said Amen to it. In the New Testament era, those who believes in Jesus and His kingdom, receives it by faith and confession. All those who believes in Jesus Christ are considered righteousness before God through what Jesus has done. We inherit the kingdom by Grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ.


After the reading of the Laws, Moses and the whole Israelites killed an animal and had a covenant supper. In the New Covenant, the animal killed is Jesus Himself and the supper we eat is His flesh and blood through the bread and vine that we celebrate as Lord’s Supper. Whenever we partake the Lord’s Supper, we repeatedly confess our faith in the New Covenant established by Jesus on the cross.


The kingdom declared by God on Mount Sinai and the Kingdom proclaimed by Jesus are not two different kingdoms. The Kingdom in the desert was a manifestation of the kingdom that to come in future. The kingdom of Jesus is an inaugurated kingdom that will be fulfilled in the near future. The old one failed, but the new one will continue to its fulfillment.

During His sermon, Jesus did not cancel any of the Mosaic laws, but instead He re-interpreted the laws. He said, "Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill.” (Matthew 5:17 - NKJV). He was a Rabbi who had authority to re-interpret the laws. So he said:


Matthew 5: 21, 22 (NKJV)

21 "You have heard that it was said to those of old, 'You shall not murder, and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment.'

22 "But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother, 'Raca!' shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says, 'You fool!' shall be in danger of hell fire.


 This is the common pattern in the sermon of Jesus. Jesus cited a Mosaic Law and re interpreted it, so that the heart of the Law Giver is revealed in it.   

Seek and you will find

As I have been saying, Jesus was proclaiming the Kingdom of God and its value system on the Mount. That means the whole sermon was about the Kingdom of God and its principles. His speech is recorded in Matthew chapter 5 to 7. It is a very long speech. But here, we are concentrating only on two verses from Matthew 7: 7 and 8. A very similar statement by Jesus is found in Luke 11: 9 and 10 also. These are our texts for this study.  


Matthew 7: 7, 8 (NKJV)

7    "Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.

8    "For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.


Luke 11: 9, 10 (NKJV)

9    "So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.

10 "For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.

Both these statements, recorded by Matthew and Luke are same in words and idea. But they were not told by Jesus at one occasion. Jesus spoke the verses in Matthew as a part of the Sermon on the Mount. The statement in Luke has a different context.

As we have already understood that the statement in Matthew is a part of the Sermon on the Mount and so it is a principle of the inaugurated Kingdom of God. That means, the kingdom of God is not an involuntary bestowal on the Jewish people. They have to ask, seek and knock for it. None who is not asking, seeking and knocking will inherit it.

This teaching is in sharp contrast to the Jewish belief. The Jews believed that they are the descendants of Abraham by flesh. This is a fact that none can deny. All promises to Abraham is transcended to his descendants. God’s covenant is with Abraham and his descendants. So they need not do anything special to inherit the kingdom of God. It is their natural inheritance by being the descendants of Abraham. But Jesus denied this claim. Jesus said that only those who ask, seek and knock will receive the kingdom.  

Jesus declared the same principle in His first statement He said as He started His ministry in Capernaum. "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel." (Mark 1: 15 - NKJV). The Kingdom of God has come. But it is inherited by repentance and faith in the good news that Jesus has defeated the enemy satan and his dark kingdom. Repentance and faith are two keys to the Kingdom. None without it will enter the Kingdom.

Luke 11: 9, 10

Now let us study the statement in Luke and try to find out how it is related to the Kingdom of God. To understand the context in Luke, we should know how the Jewish Rabbis taught and trained their disciples. There were many Rabbis in Judah, other than John the Baptist and Jesus. Jesus also lived as a Jewish Rabbi, claiming that He was the expected Messiah.

Jewish Rabbis always travelled from one place to another along with their disciples. They taught and trained their disciples during these short journeys. The Rabbi may teach them as they walk, eat or drink. They may assemble in the cool shade of large fig trees or in a synagogue. Some Rabbis taught the already accepted interpretations of the Mosaic Law and few others gave new interpretations. Jesus, as a Jewish Rabbi gave new interpretations to the Mosaic Laws. The disciples listened to the Rabbis carefully and learned the Mosaic laws and its interpretations by heart. The Rabbis would repeat the same teaching again and again, so that the disciples learn it by heart. This is why Jesus also repeated some of His statements again and again on different occasions.

Luke 11 is not the story of the Sermon on the Mount. Only Matthew records the event on the Sermon Mount. In Luke 6: 20-49 we find a passage similar to the Sermon on the Mount. The sermon in Luke is spoken on a plain, not on a mount. It is shorter also. Luke 6: 12 says that Jesus went to “the mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God.” 6: 17 says, “And He came down with them and stood on a level place with a crowd of His disciples and a great multitude of people from all Judea and Jerusalem, and from the seacoast of Tyre and Sidon, who came to hear Him and be healed of their diseases,” The Sermon starts by verse 20, “Then He lifted up His eyes toward His disciples, and said: "Blessed are you poor, For yours is the kingdom of God.” (NKJV). Since this sermon is spoken in the plain of a mountain, it is known as the Sermon on the Plain.

We are not studying this sermon. Our text is Luke 11: 9, 10. Jesus said, "So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.” (NKJV). The occasion for this statement is important to understand what Jesus really meant.

Luke 11 starts by saying that, Jesus was praying at a certain place. After He has finished praying, His disciples went to Him and asked: "Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples." (11:1)

Let us stop here for a while, because this verse contain a spiritual mystery. The disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray as John the Baptist taught his disciples. The disciples did not simply asked Jesus to teach them to pray. They want a prayer similar to that of John the Baptist taught his disciples.

Now what would have been the prayer John the Baptist taught his disciples? We have no biblical proof for the teachings of John the Baptist except that he preached repentance and baptized in Jordan River for the remission of sins. (Mark 1:4). But we can correctly assume what kind of prayer he taught his disciples.

The Rabbis and the orthodox Jews used to pray many times in one day, for the coming of the Messiah and his kingdom. They believed that, anyone who do not pray for the immediate appearance of the Messiah is not a true Jew. So all Rabbis used to teach their disciples a prayer to pray for the appearance of the Messiah. The Rabbi and his disciples would pray for long time under the shade of fig trees or in the synagogues. John also was considered to be a prophet Rabbi. So naturally he also would have taught his disciples to pray for the coming of the Messiah. All Rabbis teach their version of prayer. So Jesus also should teach his disciples to pray in the manner of John the Baptist. This what the disciples asked Jesus.

So, Jesus also taught his disciples a prayer, which we call Our Lord’s Prayer. He started the prayer by glorifying the Father in Heaven. And continued to pray, “Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven.”(Luke 11:2).

There is a sharp difference in the prayers of the Jewish Rabbis and Jesus. The Rabbis taught to pray for the coming of the Messiah and Jesus taught for the coming of the Kingdom of God. Because the Messiah has already come, Jesus is the Messiah. Now they need to pray only for the coming of the kingdom.

Here we need to add more explanation to this. We have understood already that Jesus has inaugurated His kingdom. He started His ministry by announcing that the Kingdom of God has already come. He performed signs and wonders to prove the wonderful presence of the Kingdom.

Once the disciples of John the Baptist came to Jesus with a message from their teacher who was then in the prison. John asked Jesus: “Are You the Coming One, or do we look for another?" (Matthew 11: 3 - NKJV). John’s question was, are you the expected Messiah of Jews or should we wait for another person. Jesus could answer “yes” or “no”. That would have been a simple and direct answer. But, instead, Jesus cited some miracles and signs He has performed. 


Matthew 11: 4, 5 (NKJV)

4    Jesus answered and said to them, "Go and tell John the things which you hear and see:

5    "The blind see and the lame walk; the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear; the dead are raised up and the poor have the gospel preached to them.

Jesus is asking John’s disciples to report to him what they see and hear as done and spoke by Jesus. Because every miracle is a sign that the Messiah has come and His kingdom is here. This is clearer in John 2: 11. After describing the miracle of turning water into wine, the writer of the gospel of John says: “This beginning of signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and manifested His glory; and His disciples believed in Him.” (NKJV). Apostle John is saying that the miracle is a sign of the presence of the kingdom of God. The sign is performed so that his new disciples may believe in Him. All miracles of Jesus testified the presence of the Kingdom of God.

So, "The blind see and the lame walk; the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear; the dead are raised up and the poor have the gospel preached to them.” are signs of the presence of the Messiah and His Kingdom.

Why should we pray?

Now, if the Kingdom of God has already come, why should we pray for it? Why should we pray for anything we need? Why should we pray for peace, healing and blessings? It has already come with the appearance of Jesus. But still, Jesus is teaching us to pray: “Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven.”

The question has two answers. One is that, at present, the Kingdom of God is only an inaugurated kingdom. Jesus was inaugurating. The presence of the kingdom continues among us. It will be fulfilled only in future. Revelation 21 is a prophecy about the fulfilment of the kingdom. In the Old Testament the Kingdom of God had a manifestation in the desert life of Israelites, but it failed and gone. Again it had another political manifestation during the period of King David. He conquered many lands promised to the Israelites by God, but could not add all the Promised Land.  Solomon had a manifestation of the prosperity of the Kingdom of God. But the kingdom of Solomon was divided into the northern Israel and southern Judah. Jesus inaugurated the spiritual Kingdom which will continue to the eternity. But the Kingdom will have a fulfillment in future only.

In Revelation 21: 1-3, we have a full picture of the fulfilled kingdom.


Revelation 21: 1 - 3 (NKJV)

1    Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea.

2    Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.

3    And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, "Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God.

Since the Kingdom of God is only in an inaugurated state now and it will have a future fulfilment, we should pray for it.

Secondly, we should pray for the kingdom of God to come into our life. The kingdom now is a spiritual kingdom. We cannot see, but can experience it. All spiritual things can be experienced though we may not see or touch it. Jesus clearly told before Pilate, during His crucifixion trial that His kingdom “is not of this world.” (John 18: 36). Kingdom of God is a spiritual kingdom that we should experience in our life. It should come into our life. It must be invited into our life.

Kingdom of God is not for all people in this world. It is only for those who repent and believe. Many may hear the proclamation of the Kingdom, but only few will believe in it and accept it. Repentance is the criteria for inheriting the Kingdom. Repentance is turning the other way from the life we have been living so far. It is turning away from our old beliefs, traditions and practices. Repentance is not a one time event, it is a continuous process. This continuous process may be called sanctification. It finally leads to glorification, which will happen in future eternity. Only repented people can inherit the Kingdom. 

Romans 14: 17 is a famous statement that reveals the mysterious experience of the Kingdom. The verse says,


Romans 14: 17 for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. (NKJV)

The phrase “eating and drinking” denotes material things. Paul says that the Kingdom of God is not material things. It is an echo of what Jesus declared before Pilate. It is a spiritual experience of “righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” We should open our heart to the Kingdom through prayer and invite and accept the kingdom. Then only our heart will be filled with righteousness, peace and joy. When the kingdom of God comes to our heart, His will be done in our life, as it is in Heaven. According to Matthew 11: 5, in the kingdom of God, "The blind see and the lame walk; the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear; the dead are raised up and the poor have the gospel preached to them.”

Ask, Seek and Knock

Still the question remains: why should we pray for it? The Kingdom of God is God’s eternal plan. It is not our plan. God is sovereign to establish it. He does not need our help or permission for it. Then why should we pray for it? The answer is that, it is simply the principle of the Kingdom of God that we should pray for its fulfilment in future. We should ask, seek and knock for it, if we wish the Kingdom to come into our life. This is the eternal plan of God for the realization of the Kingdom.

After teaching His disciples the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus goes on to explain this principle through a parable. The parable is recorded by Luke in 11: 5 to 8.

One man had an unexpected guest in the midnight. Since he was unexpected and it was the middle of the night, the man had no food to share for his guest. So he went and knocked at the door of his neighbor, asking him to share some food, which he will return on the next day. But it was midnight. According their custom, no one would open the door or go out in the midnight. More over his children were sleeping with him. If he rise up and open the door of the house, it may frighten the children. So the neighbor was unwilling to open the door and share food to the man. The neighbor had food in his house, but since it was night, he hesitated to open the door. But the man was in dire need of food. He must give some food to his guest. So he kept on knocking and knocking on the door of his neighbor. Since this man persistently knocked and called for help, the neighbor arose, opened the door and gave him food, as much as he wanted.  

The message of this parable is very clear. We must ask, seek and knock for the fulfilment of the Kingdom of God in future as well as the infilling of the kingdom in our present life.

The parable is continued by the verse that we selected for this study:


Luke 11: 9 "So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. (NKJV).

Both in Matthew 7: 7 and Luke 11: 9, Jesus was explaining one of the many principles of the Kingdom of God. Why should we pray, “Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven.” We should pray like this because it is the principle of the kingdom of God. We should pray for the future fulfilment of the Kingdom of God and a personal experience of the Kingdom now in our present life. None who prays for it will receive the kingdom.

Ask, seek and knock is not a one time action. It is a continuous action. Like the man in the parable, we should continuously ask, seek and knock. It is asking, seeking and knocking. And in Luke 11: 10 Jesus promises us an answer to our prayer.


Luke 11: 10 "For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.” (NKJV).

 Let me cut short. thanks for reading.

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