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What Does it Mean to Say "Your Kingdom Come?



This is post 3 in a multi-part series about the Lord's Prayer. We encourage you to go and read the previous posts if you have not!


In the past couple of blog posts, we have reflected on the fact that Jesus taught his disciples to pray in a new way, as well as on the implications of calling God "Our Father" while simultaneously praying "Hallowed be your name." This week continues the theme, focusing in on Matthew 6:10, which reads in the ESV:


"Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven."


So today, let’s look at God’s kingdom and God’s will being done on earth as it is in heaven.


If you look at Jesus' ministry throughout the Gospels, you will notice that he preaches the Gospel in a slightly different way to our understanding today: he does not focus on his own death and resurrection, choosing to focus instead on the good news of the kingdom of heaven, or the kingdom of God as it is called in other places.


In Matthew 4, also early in Jesus’ ministry Matthew 4:17 says“From that time Jesus began to proclaim, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” In Luke 4:42 Jesus said, “I must proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God to the other cities also, for I was sent for this purpose.”


So what is this Kingdom of God? Professor George Eldon Ladd describes it in this way:


“Some passages of Scripture refer to the Kingdom of God as God’s reign. Some passages refer to God’s Kingdom as the realm into which we may not enter to experience the blessings of His reign. Still other passages refer to a future realm which will come only with the return of our Lord Jesus Christ into which we shall then enter and experience the fullness

of His reign. Thus the Kingdom of God means three different things in different verses. One has to study all the references in the light of their context and then try to fit them together in an overall interpretation."


He goes on to say: "Fundamentally, the Kingdom of God is God’s sovereign reign; but God’s reign expresses itself in different stages through redemptive history.” Another way to say this might be that God's Kingdom is the reign of God that is already here on earth, but not yet realized in its fullness.


So it makes sense that in the prayer Jesus taught us to pray, begin by acknowledging God and our relationship to God and our relationship to God’s people, and then pray, “Your kingdom come and Your will be done."


What does it mean to pray this? When we pray to God, “Your kingdom come, Your will be done” we are aligning yourself with God’s rule and will.  We are laying down any other loyalty and allegiance as secondary to God’s rule and will.


This world has certain expectations and rules that it incentivizes as beliefs and behaviors. But as citizens of God's kingdom, we live and operate by a different set of rules, rules that run counter to the world's expectations: loving our enemy, praying for those that hurt us, sacrificially loving and giving of ourselves even when we expect no recognition or reciprocity.


When we do this, it might look a little weird to the rest of the world. They might see us, sacrificially giving to others, caring for people that do not care back, and say, what's the point? What are you getting out of that? But that is exactly the point--we are, in the practice of obediently following the Spirit and doing good, inheriting the kingdom of heaven.


It's important to point out that this is not in our power; it is in God's power through the Holy Spirit that we are able to surrender our own will and desires for the sake of another. It is through the Spirit that we are able to discern what we need to do and when. We have to actively seek God's will and continue to surrender our own wants and desires to His mission: Your Kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

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