An Exploration of The Lord’s Prayer – Blog Series – Part Six
“Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Matt 6:10 NRSV).
Following the first petition that God’s name be hallowed, Jesus moves towards two more. In verse ten, Jesus first asks that God’s Kingdom come, arrive, and be fully realized. Jesus has ushered in the Kingdom of God on earth, but the fullness of its arrival has not yet been accomplished. Mounce says, “Although the kingdom came in the life and ministry of Jesus, it awaits the second advent to be complete and final. We live now in those days between the beginning of the age to come and the end of the age that is present” (Mounce 1991, 56). This portion of Jesus’ teaching points toward the eschatological future. The complete realization of the Kingdom of God, although the age has begun in Christ, will not happen until Christ returns again; when His Kingdom fully comes and reigns.
The third petition quickly follows the second, with Jesus asking for God’s will to be done. This is very similar to the previous petition, in that it points to the same eschatological future of a fully realized Kingdom, with sin and evil defeated and vanquished. All that stands in the way of God’s will, will be destroyed and eliminated. However, within the calling for God’s will, one could suggest that Jesus is also referring to God’s will being carried out in the here and now by those who follow Him. France says, “Thy will be done can apply both to men’s obedience to God’s will in the word today (26:42) and to the ultimate working out of God’s purpose for the world” (France 1985 139). As one speaks to God in petition and request, seeking the fullness and realization of His will on earth, one naturally becomes inclined towards hearing and obediently following God’s will in their own lives.
The modern Christian can learn two very valuable lessons from this verse in the Lord’s Prayer. First, those who earnestly seek after God through Christ Jesus must find the benefit to obedience. Obedience is not a stringent lifestyle, but rather a fruitful display of the life lived in the direction of God’s will as directed in Scripture. Secondly, it points to the end times. Through this prayer we look expectantly and hopefully to the end, when the full realization of God’s will and His Kingdom will be on hand and eternally established.
R.T. France says, “The prayer embraces the whole scope of this outworking of God’s purpose, but its focus it not on either present or future, but on God himself, whose glory must be the disciples’ first and deepest concern, before they consider their own needs” (France 1985 139).