Matthew 6:9 Ezekiel 36:23-33 Psalm 32 (768) Romans 8:12-17
I love the church. I want more people to be part of the kingdom of God. When people are part of the kingdom of God, then they are part of the church – whether this one or another one. When we have guests, who keep coming back Sunday after Sunday, we want them to be part of the kingdom of God. When a guest is here a few times, then goes to another church, gets baptized and is part of the kingdom of God, then we are excited. We want to see more people enter the kingdom of God.
As we go through Lent, we are going to look at the Lord’s Prayer. As we prayer each phrase, we can see what it takes to be part of the Kingdom of God. Today, our understanding that Our Father’s name is hallowed is the beginning. The something bigger in life has a name, is personal, and is holy. Next Sunday, our eyes will be opened to being concerned about one kingdom, God’s kingdom. That is God & Jesus are not in conflict about kingdom, so we need not battle God’s kingdom. The following Sunday, we ponder the idea that our daily bread is Jesus. A disciple realizes that the disciple needs Jesus every day so as to be in contact with God’s kingdom. On March 30th, we see that members of God’s kingdom forgive. God forgives us, so we forgive each other. On the 1st Sunday in April, we find out that as disciples struggle, God gets us through it all. Though there are times of trial, we are not alone when we are part of God’s kingdom. Finally on Palm Sunday, we participate in God’s kingdom by blessing the Lord. We do give honor to God for all things and in all ways.
Yes, Jesus taught his disciples to pray. We call it the, “Lord’s Prayer.” But since we pray the prayer, maybe it could be called the “Disciple’s prayer.” The prayer that Jesus taught comes from his life of prayer. From reading the gospels, it seems that Jesus was praying for, during, and after his encounters with people. Whether he was healing or teaching, his time in prayer is evident. To see how important prayer is, let’s dig into “Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.”
- Our Father
- Jesus prayed in Aramaic – “Abba” or “papa”
- A son honors his father (Malachi 1:6)
- God calls Ephraim: “my dear son” (Jeremiah 31:20)
- Israel realizes that God is “our father” (Isaiah 63:16)
- God has compassion for those who fear him, like a father (Ps. 103:13-14)
- Jesus may have prayed the 18 Benedictions (prayers said in the synagogues)
– Both the 5th & 6th Benedictions mention Father!
- A caution – “our” means we are in this together & we don’t choose who is in the “our”
- The Old Testament mentions the idea that the Lord God is Father. But it was Jesus who brought us into the prayer when he said “our.” Matthew records Jesus teaching this prayer during the Sermon on the Mount. He tells the disciples not pray so as to draw attention or to use empty phrases. Since “your Father” knows what you need before you ask, you pray to him. A disciple would then have to recognize God as the disciple’s father! And if God is the father of one disciple of Jesus Christ, then he is the father to all of the disciples of Jesus Christ. Where is this father of all of Jesus’ disciples?
- Who art in heaven
- Jacob saw the angels ascending & descending the stairway to heaven
- The Old Testament describes God as being located in heaven
- The voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, the Beloved, with him I am well pleased.” (Matthew 3:17)
- God is in heaven. What does that mean? It means He created all things and he chooses to reside in heaven. We humans cannot be in heaven right now. Why? Because we choose to sin, we cannot be with God, who knows no sin. Yet, God wants us to be with him. It is by his compassion that he sent Jesus. It is the Father saying to us, believe in Jesus, and you can be with me in my kingdom. There we come to the sticky point. How do we know that God is higher, different, even holy?
- Hallowed be thy Name
- The Lord is holy (Leviticus 11:44)
- His name is holy (Exodus 3:14) – “I am who I am”
- The Lord is willing and ready to forgive our sins (Psalm 32)
- When we cry out to God, “Abba! Father!” His Spirit says we are his! (Romans 8:12-17)
- Two cautions for disciples of Jesus Christ
- Forgetting God (& his holiness) – after the Israelites entered the promised land
- Not taking God seriously (Isaiah 64:1-2)
- God is holy. His Name is holy. When we say God’s name is hallowed, we are saying that this one who is completely separate from us, is holy. God is not like us, he has no sin. Yet, God wants us to know him. Jesus knows our Father. So he teaches us to pray. As we want to be in God’s kingdom, we turn to God in prayer. It is good for us to know God before entering his kingdom.
I want to see more people enter God’s kingdom. In order for us to be disciples of Jesus Christ who are entering God’s kingdom, we need to know God. That knowledge comes through our spending time with God in prayer. We will discover how much compassion God has for each of us. That is God wants us to go him for any and all concerns that we have.
We will also see that God is holy. God can and does forgive ours sins. He wipes our sins out. We owe our lives to God for taking our sins away. So, we hallow his name. We place God and his kingdom above ourselves and our kingdoms. He is there already, but for us to acknowledge that is important. That means we are willing to follow God’s lead. That means we are willing to place Jesus as our leader. That means we are willing to enter God’s kingdom by becoming disciples of Jesus Christ.
As we prepare for Easter, Resurrection Sunday, we are preparing to say that we are disciples of Jesus Christ. I would love to see you be a disciple of Jesus Christ. Wouldn’t you love to see yourself as a disciple of Jesus Christ?