I took a different tack—obviously—with God being He from within saying, “The door hath been shut.” And the “knocking man” as the one with “the shameless audacity” to ask for what he himself does not have, only so he can give it away.
There are a couple of reasons I like this parable. One is just the pure surprise of something perfectly plain being perfectly unclear. What Jesus says is not in the least possible way complicated. It is not in the least possible way able to be misunderstood. Yet immediately it is impossible to understand exactly who is doing exactly what. It’s not the complexity of the parable, but the simplicity that is disorienting. The disciples keep asking, “How come things aren’t clear?” And the teacher keeps answering: “They are clear. You just can’t see.” And filled with the spirit, he laughs that little children can see what intellectuals can’t.
The other is how Jesus, at first, leans humanity against this colossal cornerstone of heaven inscribed with the words: It's Too Late
“It’s too late,” says God behind the door.
And this is pitifully true. The sun has set upon the world. It’s too late to ask, too late to choose, too late to change.
What is done is done. What is chosen is chosen. “The children are down already.” The midnight fate of all within the house of God is predetermined. It's too late.
But then Jesus upends that cornerstone as if it were a pebble. He says even though that is true, something else is more true:
It’s never too late.
It’s never too late to ask, to seek, to knock, to give, to change, to choose, to have courage, to be shameless.
Just before He tells the parable of the friend and the bread and the midnight house, Jesus answers a terrifically simple, though infinitely large, question with a terrifyingly small answer.
“Jesus, how do you pray?”
“I ask for bread.”
“Look, suppose a friend...”
And right then He begins to hide. Why? Not because it’s necessarily poetic or funny or dramatic to obscure the details and characters and meaning, but because He must hide. As if he is hiding easter eggs. He can no more give you the golden egg, than he can give you the answer. Because if he does, you will not find; you will not ask. If he gives you the answer, he doesn’t merely make it too easy, or reveal complex knowledge and truth for your simple eyes to see, he takes away the question. Which complicates everything. Dangerously, maybe obliterates the solution permanently. The hidden egg must be found if it is to open. The seed must be planted deep, only then will it die and work into the soil of the soul. It is the greatest something even to know it might be there somewhere waiting on you, germinating in you. Otherwise you will grasp whatever answer is in easy reach and begin to believe you have an egg. And you will stop looking. You will say something like, “I know what is wrong with me! I have a syndrome! I have a chemical imbalance! I have original sin!" or "I have a promise with streets of gold!” Which means nothing. It is to have a diagnosis and a cure without ever having a disease. It is just a word or a symbol. It immediately hides everything important behind itself. All you have is a golden egg that will never open unto you. And you will spend the rest of your life thinking about your egg and reading about and caressing it, never figuring out why it doesn’t hatch.