Thy Kingdom Come

Matthew 6:9

February 2nd and 3rd


            The Lord’s prayer teaches us  who God is, and because of that how much he desires prayer in our lives.   Our theme this day focuses on the second petition of the Lord’s Prayer “Thy kingdom come”.      So far we have heard that our God is merciful as a Father and powerful, for he is in charge of the heavenly realms.   Our God also personal as he not only bids us to call him by name, but he places that name upon us in baptism.  “here two or three are gathered in his name, there I am in the midst of them”.    With all this in mind we are to freely and joyfully come before the heavenly throne with our petitions.    In Luther’s large catechism he writes “There is nothing great that He desires of us than that we ask Him for many and great things; conversely, it angers Him if we do not ask confidently and make great demands on him”.  Hebrews 4   states “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need”.   Today we are asking for a heavenly invasion, a transformation of this world and of our lives through his Kingdom.   It is difficult for us to pray “Thy Kingdom come”, because included in this petition is an assumption that our little kingdoms, our ways of doing things, our assumption that we can do with the bare minimum of Jesus in our lives, have to come tumbling down.  A coup, a political change is needed in our lives.      What is our greatest need?  It’s that the king of the kingdom Jesus Christ, would continue to rule our lives in righteousness, in love, in forgiveness, in hope, both now and into eternity.   This individual need is also the world’s need as we pray this kingdom would expand beyond our borders and change the lives of man.  We also pray that heaven itself will come upon us both in his second coming, and when we enter paradise after taking our last breath.  

            In Luther’s explanation to this prayer, he makes a very important statement.  “The kingdom of God comes with or without our prayer, but we pray in this petition that it may come to us also”.  Luther knows we do not bring about this kingdom, through prayer or any other means, we don’t manipulate God.  Rather we pray, that that kingdom may be recognized by us.   There have been separatist religious groups in America and throughout the world that have tried to establish on their own God’s kingdom here on earth.  The Shaker movement or even the religious movement settled near New Harmony, Indiana   tried in many ways to make God’s Kingdom happen on earth.  For a time they flourished, but today their influence has waned.   At the end of the nineteenth century there was a tendency to view the Kingdom of God as some kind of earthly paradise that would inevitably come with the progress of the race. However,  two world wars and many other major conflicts have tended to end such a viewpoint.   It is instructive to note Jesus own words to Pontius Pilate “My kingdom is not of this world”.  His Kingdom is not one that would be obtained through earthly conflict or the political process.  

            We pray that his kingdom of power would be recognized by the world.     Psalm 103 says “The Lord has established his throne in heaven, and his kingdom rules over all”.  Whether humanity knows it or not,  Jesus rules over all the world and all the universe.  Jesus himself sits at the right hand of the throne of God, this is his power petition.    We pray “Thy Kingdom Come” so  that good order and God’s rule for all humanity would be recognized especially both by us and within the   world.  This Kingdom of power can be seen in the  study of astronomy and seeing the vast reaches and complicated nature of the universe. However, this power can also be seen in the complexity on a smaller level.    For example,  the human eye has 130 million light receptors and about 7 million sensory terminals.  Each eye has about 300,000 lines going to the brain.  By the age of 70 the human brain stores away on average 15 trillion pieces of information and on an average day the brain sends and receives more messages than all the telephone systems in the world will send and receive in the next 50 years. Our prayer is that we will recognize and bring glory to the powerful and merciful God who already preserves and keeps the smallest and largest objects in the universe functioning.   

            We also pray “Thy Kingdom Come” so that God’s kingly rule would be evident through the Jesus.   It is true that this rule is already upon us.    Colossians 1:13 says “For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves.  In whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”      Indeed God rules the universe, but this rule is a little different.  Here he maintains and expands His Kingdom through his precious Word.  He now rules by coming to us in his body and blood for the forgiveness of sins.    He rules his church through naming his people in baptism.  This rule is by grace alone.   Unlike most kings our Savior doesn’t demand taxes in exchange for his protection,  rather he asks for our sins our sorrows, our diseases, our hurts, our pains.   He then takes all that we offer and absorbs them on Calvary’s cross. 

  To pray “thy kingdom come”  is to pray that this rule, this kingdom would transform our lives.  It is also to pray that this kingdom would go beyond our lives and into the world.  We pray this because this “outward nature” of the gospel while often given lip service, simply does not come natural to us.  We like comfort.  To bring the gospel to other peoples lives means to break into our comfort zones.  It may mean to live with and deal with lives that are broken and to love those who do not seem to respond to our love.  The president of our church body talks about the sins of omission, commission, and that of no mission.  To pray “Thy Kingdom come” is  to declare to the world that sin is real, but Jesus is even more real.     

            So the Kingdom of God is one of power and providence over all creation.  It is  a kingdom that rules his church by grace, and a Kingdom that will spread.    The Kingdom of God is also one of glory.   This weekend we are celebrating transfiguration Sunday, a time when Jesus appeared in a glorious way on this mountain to show that he alone would bring us through death into everlasting life.   It was a rare visual of what   disciples already had by faith.   To pray thy kingdom come is to be reminded that “Our citizenship is in heaven, and we eagerly wait a Savior from the their our Lord Jesus Christ”(Philippians 3:20) .  Often this is hard to pray,  because we like it here.   We know our life is better in heaven, we at the same time hope for ourselves and our families it would be a while.  At other times, when wish it would come soon, because we got all we wanted out of life.  Often, this view happens after a spouse or loved goes on toe heaven.   My grandmother said she would like to live to be 85, and then the Lord could take her.  She lived to be 92.  In other words she wanted to go, but in God’s wisdom she stayed over her suggested time.   To pray “Thy Kingdom come” is to pray the prayer that the church has prayed for centuries “Amen Come, Lord Jesus” (Revelation 22: 20).  This is stated in response to Jesus words  “Yes, I am coming soon (Revelation 22:19).   It is to trust that the kingdom of glory will come at his time, and his time is better than our time.    

            The kingdom is where the king is, and the king is among us, and thankfully our King Jesus is for sinners like us and not against us.  Our God rules, and in Christ he governs his church through mercy, and expands his kingdom through his world, and promises to come again in glory.  Help us Lord,  to pray this prayer, and more importantly help us see through faith your kingdom Amen.