Teach Us to Pray (3)
Luke 11:2 “And he said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth.”
The Lord Jesus having addressed God’s fatherhood, transcendence and holiness now appeals to his omnipotence. Having addressed God’s person he desires that God shows his attributes – God’s interests are first on this prayer list.
Thy Kingdom Come
Although this phrase (and wider prayer) might have particular import for a faithful remnant in the day of Jacob’s trouble (Jer 30:7); the underlying principle is relevant to all of God’s people for all time. We are to pray and long for the day when God’s power and glory is seen globally, when righteousness reigns eternally and peace is the hallmark of his kingdom.Every Christian covets such a day, saying “even so, come” (Rev 22:20). We echo the sentiment of the Psalmist when he said “arise, O Lord; let not man prevail” (Ps 9:20), we yearn for the day when the fractured and sinful rule of man, gives way to the King of glory who will reign in perfect righteousness.
All of the Old Testament promises and prophecies (Is 11, Jer 23:5-8, Zec 6:12-13) concerning the millennial reign of the Messiah, will be fulfilled; his kingdom will come, and “he shall have dominion … from sea to sea, and from the river unto the ends of the earth” (Ps 72:8). We crave for the day when the Lord Jesus is crowned king over all of the earth and “the kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever” (Rev 11:15).
When the Lord was here on earth, he displayed something of the power and glory of the kingdom to come. He displayed the power of the kingdom, as he destroyed the works of the devil(1 Jn 3:8). The kingdom of God was come near to Israel (Lk 10:9) as the king and his servants healed the sick and cast out diseases. He fulfilled Old Testament expectations that the Messiah would “swallow up death in victory” (Is 25:8), feed his people (Ez 34:13) and “open the blind eyes” (Is 42:7). What else would the Jews have made of Isaiah’s prophecy?
“Your God will come … and save you. Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing” (Is 35:4-6)
His works were a foretaste of the millennial kingdom, Jesus of Nazareth was the promised Messiah. Little wonder the people “marvelled and glorified God, which had given such power unto men” (Mt 9:8), and said “what manner of man is this……… it was never so seen in Israel” (Mt 8:27, 9:33).
His words too showed a foretaste of the kingdom when he saton the mountain to describe the laws and moral features of his rule (Mt 5-7). Little wonder the crowd were “astonished at his doctrine: for he taught them as one having authority” (Mt 7:28-29). He was the king magnifying the law and making it honourable (Is 42:21), he wasn't teaching man-made traditions, but rather unfolded the essence and nature of God’s law. Our society is legislated to the nth degree, with bureaucratic red tape influencing every area of our lives. This wasn’t the case with the perfect ruler; he desired truth in the inward parts (Jer 31:33, Ps 51:6), he wasn’t interested inimposing outward conformity, but wanted inner reality. The Lord Jesus of course exemplified this, acknowledging the rule of God in his own heart fulfilling the Psalm which said “thy law is within my heart” (Ps 40:8).
The Jews however rejected their king saying “we have no king but Caesar” (Jn 19:15) and attributed the works of the Lord Jesus to Beelzebub (Mt 12:24). In doing this they temporarily cut themselves off from God’s kingdom program. Having rejected the King, the offer of the millennial kingdom was put on hold.
Though we desire the future reign and power of God in his kingdom, we must first realise it in our own hearts, today this truth is spiritual, not physical. A prerequisite to seeing the kingdom of God is to be born again (Jn 3:3) – the rule and power of God must start within. This was the case with the Lord Jesus; being subject to God he said “I must be about my Father’s business” (Lk 2:49). Being subject to God, only then could he say “I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do” (Jn 17:4).
This morning may we revel in all that he said and did, but ultimately glory in the one who perfectly acknowledged the rule of God in his own heart. Until he comes and sits on “the throne of his father David” (Lk 1:32) we remember him andpray “thy kingdom come”.