Friday after the Second Sunday after Epiphany
Scripture: St. Matthew 7:1-14 (NKJV)
1 “Judge not, that you be not judged. 2 For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. 3 And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? 4 Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? 5 Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. 6 Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces.
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. 9 Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? 11 If you then, being 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! 12 Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.
13 “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. 14 Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.”
Your Father in Heaven promises to give you good things. We are always tempted to doubt this and think that God gives us evil things. We fear that prayers will go unanswered, that God does not hear us, or that our guilt is blocking our prayer’s access to our Father’s ears. What we truly fear is that God is against us and not for us, that He wants our downfall and punishment. This is having a false version of the true God, which is an idol. The Lord God wants to give good things to His baptized children in this life, physically and spiritually.
Jesus points us to earthly fathers. Jesus tells us that even earthly fathers, who are evil by nature, know how to give their children good gifts. When his children sit at table for supper, what father would place rocks on their plates? When they ask for a fish for dinner, what father would give his children a serpent? So your Father in heaven will not give you inedible stones in place of daily bread. Neither will He give you anything evil, for the serpent is not only physically dangerous, but it reminds us of the devil’s ways from the beginning. So the Lord does not give us evil things of body or of soul. It is the Serpent’s work to teach us that God wants to give us evil things.
But God tempts no one, and every good gift and perfect gift comes from Him alone. He will not give you indigestible stones. He gives you His Only-Begotten Son as your Bread of Life. He Who gives you His Son will graciously give you every good thing!