Summary: Fifth in a series on the Lord's Prayer
1 Your Kingdom Come
Have you ever seen a TV show or a movie where a couple are on a date and they’re seated at this nice restaurant? Maybe it’s a French restaurant, and the menu, naturally, is printed in French. The woman orders first and she just happens to be fluent in French, so she orders something that only she and the waiter understand.
Well, the man, not wanting to appear ignorant or unsophisticated, does something truly ignorant. He simply points to some mysterious words in the menu and says, "I’ll have one of those."
Big mistake, of course.
Much to his dismay and surprise, when his dinner is brought to the table, what he sees is both intriguing and uninviting and it looks similar to what he’s tried to keep out of his garden.
So the moral of the story is: Be careful what you order in restaurants. If you don’t know what you are asking for, you might very well regret it.
The same might be said for prayer. Be careful what you pray for. You just might get it, and if that happens, hopefully, you won’t regret it.
For the past few weeks, we’ve been taking a look at the Lord’s Prayer. This is a prayer that looks and sounds pretty safe. What could possibly be distressing about praying for our daily bread, or freedom from temptation?
But early in the prayer, there’s the phrase, "Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven."
Praying for the kingdom to come on earth might be like asking for escargot in a French restaurant and ending up with a plate of snails. You’ll get what you ask for, but it might not be what you want.
2 Now…Back in the Old Testament, Isaiah wrote about the coming Messiah and his kingdom. He revealed that one day God’s Son will establish His Kingdom: "The government will rest on His shoulders…His ever expanding, peaceful government will never end. He will rule forever with fairness and justice from the throne of His ancestor David. The passionate commitment of the Lord Almighty will guarantee this!" (Isaiah 9:6-7).
So the Messiah will establish His kingdom with authority. The title Messiah means "anointed one." We inaugurate Presidents; we anoint Kings.
3 The word "kingdom" in the original language means "rule" or "reign". God’s Kingdom is unique – in that it is not a human kingdom. Earthly kingdoms rise and fall, but the reign of God will prevail and last forever.
Pilate asked Jesus what kind of king He was; Jesus didn’t fit Pilate’s perception; He didn’t conform to the popular notion of a political ruler. Jesus responded, saying, "My Kingdom is not of this world." He told His followers, "the Kingdom of God is within you." In a spiritual sense, we are living now in the Kingdom. Both John the Baptist and Jesus began their ministries announcing that the Kingdom of God had come-it is here.
When we pray "Your Kingdom come" we are asking God to advance and expand that Kingdom through his people, and we are anticipating the day when that Kingdom literally comes when Jesus returns. It is a Kingdom that is both present and future-it is here and now, and will one day come in fullness.
I believe that God loves to hear that prayer from his children. Max Lucado says in the book, “The Great House of God,” that “We’re often content to ask for less.” We present to God “a satchel full of requests—promotions desired, pay raises wanted, transmission repairs needed, and tuitions due…Not that our needs don’t matter to him…
(But) When you say, ‘Thy kingdom come,’ you are inviting the Messiah himself to walk into your world…Be present in my heart. Be present in my office. Come into my marriage. Be Lord of my family, my fears, and my doubts.’ This is no feeble request; it’s a bold appeal for God to occupy every corner of your life.” (pg. 61-62)
So do you think we really want the kingdom of God on earth if it looks like that – if God is present in every corner of our lives? If our answer is “Yes” then I think we can break that phrase – Your kingdom come – down to basically two things. We’re asking for a radical change in our society and a radical change within ourselves.
4 In the kingdom of God, it’s the poor who are blessed. It is those who mourn and grieve. It’s the meek and those who hunger and thirst for what is right. It’s the merciful and the pure in heart. It’s the peacemaker and the persecuted.
That’s a radical change from what we’re used to, where the rich are the ones who seem most blessed; where the most aggressive person gets the best job; and where the immoral seem to prosper. And sometimes we’re left looking around and thinking “What’s happening? This isn’t right.”