Luke 11:11-13 – see # 8. Matthew 7:9-12 – same question; but refers to Holy Spirit
“Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? 12 Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? 13 If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” NIV
Jesus uses the illustration of earthly fathers desiring to give good gifts to their children as a comparison to our Heavenly Father desiring to give good gifts to His children in both the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew chapters 5-7) and the Sermon on the Plain (Luke chapter 11). In the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew), He simply speaks of the “good gifts” (Matt. 7:10) that God wants to give to those who ask Him. In the Sermon on the Plain (Luke 11:13), the good gift is specified as the Holy Spirit.
Both of these passages are preceded by the same challenge to His followers:
“… Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.” (Luke 11:9-10, Matt. 7:7-8 – NIV)
The suggestion here seems to be that God is more willing to give us good gifts and especially the filling of the Holy Spirit than we are willing to ask for or receive such gifts. It may be the whole idea that even though we realize we need God for salvation (Father, Son, Holy Spirit), we can somehow and in someway become like Jesus on our own. We are like a teenager who is trying to discover his/her identity apart from communication with parents. We somehow think that we can discover our identity apart from rather than in cooperation with our earthly parents. Many times we behave in a similar manner to God. We acknowledge that He has given us spiritual birth; but we fail to cooperate with Him (especially the Holy Spirit) to discover who we really are purposed to be in the Kingdom (God’s Forever Family).
Jesus is telling us that we need to seek to know God better … that we need to explore the riches of his grace and blessings by opening some doors, and to ask God to reveal Himself to us and equip us for the mission / purpose that He has for each of us in cooperation with the Holy Spirit’s working in us.
God will provide us with all we need if we abide in Him. Remember Jesus’ words to His first disciples on the night before His death recorded in John 15:1-17 and summed up in this verse: “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5 – NIV)
At the same time we need to, also, remember Paul and James’ admonitions to early Christ-followers: Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort? (Galatians 3:3 – NIV)
What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? 2 You want something but don’t get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God. 3 When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. (James 4:1-3 – NIV)
Some questions to consider: How am I currently seeking to know God better? In what ways do I depend more upon Him or myself for my purpose and spiritual growth? If I am a follower of Jesus, how am I abiding in Him? In what ways am I actively seeking and allowing the Holy Spirit to work in my life to help me become more like Jesus?