Posted by: Jo | April 19, 2013

Thy Kingdom Come

“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (Matthew 6:33)

imageWhen I was a little girl we lived on the East Coast of Australia. The area was known for its’ beautiful beaches and where my grandmother had a holiday cottage, there were spectacular sand hills, huge mounds of sand blown there by the strong North Easterly winds. My brother and I loved to try to climb these mountains of sand, but it took a lot of practice as the sand slipped away from under our bare feet and we had been warned by the adults that we could be buried underneath the sand as it moved. A warning we chose, in the ignorance of youth, to frequently ignore. Our game was to be the first to the top so the winner could shout to the loser, “I am the king of the castle and you are the dirty rascal” Where we had heard this ditty I have no idea. Kings and kingdoms have been part of storytelling and literature for ages and we knew even as children that being, “the king” and ruling over a kingdom had a lot of significance.

The theme of kings and kingdoms is frequently mentioned in Scripture and it is fascinating to consult a concordance and note how often our Lord Jesus Christ refers to the kingdom. In Matthew, we read that John the Baptist when he was preparing the way for the Lord, uses the kingdom word as he preached to the crowd;

“In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the Desert of Judea, and saying; Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.” (Matthew 3:1 – 2)

When Jesus himself began to preach he used the same words;

“From that time on Jesus began to preach, “Repent for the kingdom of heaven is near.” (Matthew 4:17)

imageAs a school teacher, I knew for students to grasp any concept, the thought had to be repeated many times and in many different ways, so when we note the way Jesus emphasizes “the kingdom” we know he wants us to grasp the astounding truth behind his words. In Matthew alone there are over 50 references to “the kingdom”. Jesus uses parables to help us understand and the series of kingdom parables in Matthew (Matthew 13:24 – 52) enlarges our understanding of the beautiful gift of citizenship Jesus is offering if we accept his kingship.

So how significant is it for us to understand Jesus’ kingly rule in our everyday lives? Why did Jesus include the phrase, “Thy kingdom come” in the much loved Lord’s Prayer? Do these words just slip off our tongue without thought? In his book, “The Lord’s Prayer”, R.T. Kendall describes this phrase in these words, “Focusing on God’s interests. “ When we repeat these words are we impressed with the magnitude of what this means? How can we focus on not our own interests which so often takes up our prayer time with the Lord, but what the Father would see as being important? How do we bring great pleasure to our King by abiding by his commands and loving others into his precious kingdom?

There is also a fascinating mystery about this kingdom. Jesus tells his disciples that the kingdom of God is within them.

“..The kingdom of God does not come with your careful observation, nor will people say, ‘Here it is, or there it is’, because the kingdom of God is within you.” (Luke 17:20 – 21)

imageI see this as the Lord telling us that we can allow him to rule over our hearts, but then when he urges us to pray, “Thy kingdom come”, we are aware that the best is yet to come and we can pray for that perfect kingdom with the Lord Jesus as king over all, the ultimate kingdom.

What a comforting thought that when we love the Lord we are welcomed into his kingdom of light.

“Giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light. 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.” (Colossians 1:12 – 14)

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Responses

  1. Late in responding but thankyou Jo!
    You are quite right …we do tend to repeat the wonderful words we have so diigently memorized, yet reading your blog for last week opened my eyes to the magnitude of His loving words in The Lords prayer.
    My AMEN will be even more thankful ,Thanks to you !

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  2. Great thoughts. Thank you once again.
    God bless, Mary.

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  3. As in the kingdom of Israel at the time of Jesus, there are ruling fathers and their rivals who all promise that their kingdom will become the best of all, and if we do what they say, it will happen. Jesus’ prayer focuses instead on the Father, the one in the heavens, and affirms that it is “your” name (as Father) that should be revered (hallowed), that it is “your” kingdom (not that of the fathers) that should come, and that it is “your” will (not that of the fathers) that should be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Disciples of Jesus, who pray this prayer, are focusing on their revered Father, and the coming of the heavenly kingdom through their doing the will of the Father on earth. Jesus has taught us the will of his Father, and whoever does that will (through thoughts, words, and actions) is a true disciple, a part of that kingdom.

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  4. Thank you Jo! Excellent blog this week! I will share with my boys

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