Summary: When we pray Your kingdom come we are saying, “Lord rule us by Your Spirit”. Luke shows us how we allow this rule to take place.
You can listen to the full message here:-
“Your Kingdom Comes”
History has such a powerful impact doesn’t it.
In Australia 26th January 1788 is celebrated as Australia Day – the day our nation was born.
But for some people, especially those with an Aboriginal heritage, the day is also known as invasion day.
Whatever the case … it is history which determines how one views these events and the emotions you have in response to those events.
The nation of Israel has a long history, much longer than the history of Australia. And for the Israelites the issue of land was also very important. You see, in many ways, the size of the land owned by Israel spoke volumes about the blessings God was showing to the people. And the centuries before Jesus came to Israel had not been kind.
The last 700 years of Israel’s history had seen the Assyrians, then the Babylonians, then the Persians, then the Greeks and now the Romans basically being in control of the people in the promised land. These nations came with their rules, and cultural practices, and enforced changes.
Injustice and compromise often became a normal way of life as the rules of the heathen nations were forced upon the culture of the Jews.
On some occasions the law of God had to be put aside because it was in conflict with the rules of the nation who was in control.
Regularly the religious freedom of the Jews was compromised. There were times when the temple was defiled and so sacrifices couldn’t be made. There were times when there was no temple at all.
Through it all the Jews kept longing for a day when the land would be theirs. Indeed they prayed this prayer everyday:-
O Lord raise up the son of David that he may reign over Israel and purge Jerusalem from the nations that trample her down to destruction. With a rod of iron he shall break in pieces all their substance. And he shall gather a holy people and neither sojourner nor alien shall live with them any more. And he shall have the heathen nations to serve him under his yoke. And he shall purge Jerusalem making it holy as of old.
In the mind of an Israelite this was known as the coming of God’s kingdom. And it was a topic that consumed may Israelites and especially the Pharisees. It was such an important topic that the Pharisees, despite their hate for Jesus, ask Jesus for His opinion.
Let’s turn to Luke 17:20-37 to read about that conversation.
It is a really interesting conversation. Because it is very clear that the Kingdom of God has many aspects to it. In some ways the coming of the kingdom is like a parade.
We might think about it in terms of a Christmas parade.
It starts with a big band walking along playing, “We wish you a Merry Christmas”.
Behind them comes a series of large moving presents with life-sized toys on them waving to you as they go past.
Further along is a float which is like a huge piece of ice, it has a model of Santa’s village and his workshop.
Near the end of the parade are all these elves giving out lollies to bystanders.
Finally, right at the end, comes the big man himself. Santa sitting on a sleigh being pulled by 12 electronic reindeer … one which has a bright red lightbulb for a nose.
Each moment in the parade is important … but it really all points to the end of the parade.
God’s Kingdom is like that. Even in the Old Testament it was spoken about in that way. In Daniel 2 King Nebuchadnezzar has a dream about a large statue. Daniel interprets the dream which is about the Babylonian empire, which falls to the Persian empire, which falls to the Greek empire, which falls to the Roman empire. All these kingdoms come and go. Eventually there is another kingdom.
(T)he God of Heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, nor will it be left to another people. It will crush all (other) kingdoms and bring an end to them, but it will itself endure forever.
Finally God’s people win. Finally there will be a Kingdom - an outward, earthly, visible kingdom – where:-
… the Jews had a prominent place.
… judgement would be brought against heathen nations.
… the strangle hold of every empire is removed.
… Jerusalem would contain God’s throne.
Finally we win!!
So that is how the Pharisees and Jews thought about the Kingdom of God.
Then Jesus comes along and He teaches us to pray.
Our Father in heaven.
Hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come …