The Lord's Prayer: "Your Kingdom Come"

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, March 29, 2021 0 comments

by Katie Erickson

As we continue digging into the Lord’s prayer in Matthew 6:9-13, we now move into verse 10 with today’s phrase: “Your kingdom come.” But whose kingdom are we talking about, and where do we want it to come?

To discover whose kingdom it is we’re talking about, we need to look at the context of the rest of the prayer up to this point. Jesus is telling His disciples how they should pray, and before this phrase, He begins by saying, “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.” The “your” in “hallowed be your name” refers to our Father in heaven (God), and the “your” in “your kingdom come” does too. So, the kingdom that we want to come is the kingdom of God.

But what is the kingdom of God? I’m glad you asked - and in fact, I’ve already written about that here. To summarize that post, the kingdom of God is not a specific place or realm with a person who reigns over it as we would think of a kingdom, but it’s a lifestyle. The kingdom of God is not someplace we go but how we can live our lives. As Jason DeZurik says, “The Kingdom of God is not a place. It is a spiritual awakening. It is a mindset. It is a lifestyle.”

But if the kingdom of God is something that we’re already living, why would we pray for it to come? It’s a concept that’s both “already” and “not yet.” We are able to live out God’s kingdom here on earth, but at the same time, we not fully able to do so while we’re still living in this sinful world. We will not be perfect at living out this mindset here on earth. It’s already here that we can live out God’s kingdom, but we’re living it out imperfectly, so it is not yet fully here.

The kingdom of God can also refer to God ruling over the world in absolute sovereignty. While God is fully sovereign now, we will not yet see the full extent of His kingship until He comes again at the end of time. Praying for God’s kingdom to come is also asking for God to come again to fulfill everything about His kingdom - we’re praying for the “not yet” to become the “now.” It’s similar to when Paul says, “Come, Lord!” in 1 Corinthians 16:22.

What will it look like when God’s kingdom comes? One idea is portrayed in Revelation 11:15-19 in the Seventh Trumpet, though it should be noted that whether this will happen literally or not is up to God (see more on eschatology here). As verse 15 says, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Messiah, and he will reign for ever and ever.” Whenever God decides that the time has come for this world to end, then His kingdom will fully come into our lives on this earth. Until then, we pray for His kingdom to come.

The Kingdom of God was not a new concept when Jesus spoke this Lord’s prayer. In Mark 1:15, Jesus began proclaiming His coming kingdom: “‘The time has come,’ he said. ‘The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!’”

A bit later in His ministry, Jesus spoke these words in Mark 9:1: “Truly I tell you, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see that the kingdom of God has come with power.” These words came right after Jesus taught about the difficult life of discipleship and following Him in Mark 8:34-38.

Being a disciple of Jesus and following Him with our lives is how we live out the kingdom of God here on earth. His Kingdom is not fully here, but we can still participate in it by living our lives for Jesus Christ and proclaiming the good news of salvation through Him.

Mark 15:43 says, “Joseph of Arimathea, a prominent member of the Council, who was himself waiting for the kingdom of God, went boldly to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body.” Joseph was a member of the Jewish council, so he would have been waiting for the Messiah to come - that was the form of God’s Kingdom that he was waiting for. It was a bold move for him to ask for Jesus’ body, but perhaps we can see from this verse that Joseph recognized that Jesus would be the fulfillment of all the Old Testament prophecies that told of the coming Messiah.

The Jewish perspective has been to wait and pray for the coming Messiah; the Messiah would usher in the coming of God’s kingdom. Jews would recite an ancient prayer called “Qaddish” (which means sanctification, or making something holy) in Aramaic at the end of each service at the synagogue. The oldest form of this prayer states, “Exalted and hallowed be his great name in the world which he created according to his will. May he let his kingdom rule in your lifetime and in your days and in the lifetime of the whole house of Israel, speedily and soon. And to this, say: amen” (quoted from the Expositor’s Bible Commentary entry on Matthew 6:10).

Do you see any similarities between that and the opening phrases of the Lord’s Prayer? The Jews looked forward to God’s kingdom coming in the form of the Messiah, whereas we as Christians know that the Messiah has already come in the person of Jesus Christ! Instead of looking forward to the savior who is yet to come, we look forward to that savior coming again to fully establish His kingdom here on earth.

What are you doing in your life to show that you’re living out God’s kingdom here on earth? And what are you doing to look forward to when Jesus will come again to fully establish His eternal kingdom?

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