Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
10 Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil:
For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen. -KJV
Thy Kingdom Come
The Greek Text:
Come the Kingdom of yours
What is the Kingdom?
For years when I have prayed- “Thy Kingdom come,” I only a vague idea about what I was praying for. Usually my focus was on the end of history when Jesus comes back and sets up his Kingdom and rules the World. Other times I viewed the Kingdom as merely another word for the church.
However when you look at the original Greek word used here for ‘Kingdom’ it seems to offer so much more that could apply to this life. The Greek word is: ‘Basileia’. It doesn’t necessarily refer to a geographical location like a country, but means: ‘rule’. So wherever God rules, there is his Kingdom. So when we pray for his Kingdom to come, we are really praying for an extension of his rule and authority.
The Kingdom in the Teaching and Ministry of Jesus
It is in the teaching and actions of Jesus that the Kingdom is more clearly identified for us. Wherever Jesus went he proclaimed that the Kingdom of God was near:
“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.”–Matt 4:17 –NIV
In fact Matt 4:23 tells us that wherever Jesus went he preached about the good news of the Kingdom and healed the sick:
23 Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people. -NIV
But what did he really mean when he said that the Kingdom was “near” and what did those listening to him think he was saying?
The Old Testament prophets talked about the coming of the Messiah and the Kingdom that he would establish and what it would be like. According to the prophets, life under the Messiah was going to be incredible—no sickness, no more slavery or servitude, plenty for everyone and perfect justice. Totally different than what they were experiencing under the Roman Empire and the puppet kings like Herod.
When Jesus preached about the Kingdom and healed the sick, many observers began to hope that maybe he was the prophesied Messiah. After all, wherever he went he proclaimed that the Kingdom was near. In fact when the disciples of John the Baptist showed up asking if he was really the Messiah, he indicated that the Kingdom was being demonstrated in his ministry:
“Go back and report to John what you hear and see: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor. Blessed is the man who does not fall away on account of me.” –Matt 11:4-6 -NIV
Then when he returned to Nazareth he was asked to read from the scriptures in the synagogue:
…The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:
“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him, and he began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” – Luke 4:17-21 -NIV
This was the context that the disciples and many regular folks understood when they heard Jesus talking about the Kingdom. The Messianic Kingdom of freedom and justice, healing and no sickness, plus abundance for all. He was demonstrating that he was the Messiah.
Today when we read the words of Jesus about the Kingdom many of us think about what it is going to be like when he comes back and sets up his Kingdom. For many of us the context has always seemed to be mostly future.
The Kingdom -‘Basileia’
However the prayer is not future. We are asking in the present for his kingdom to come now—Thy Kingdom come—let your Kingdom come right now. Let healing come, let oppression cease, let freedom ring, let abundance come to the poor, let God’s justice reign.
Again, the original Greek word for Kingdom – ‘Basileia’ actually means ‘rule’. So wherever God rules, there is his Kingdom. So when we pray for his Kingdom to come we are really praying for an extension of his rule and authority. When we accepted Jesus as the Lord of our life we became part of God’s ‘Basileia’ –his kingdom rule is in our lives—and the Kingdom is ‘Good News.’
When he actually rules in our lives—his will is being done on earth and all the ‘good news’ of the Kingdom is available to us in this life.
Now the Lord knows that when it comes to work, one of the things I hate the most to do is pulling weeds. Here’s an account of how the Lord demonstrated to me how practical his ‘Kingdom’ could be while doing yard work:
One day I tried to pull the weeds in my gravel driveway and failed. The next day the Lord said to me:
“I am going to teach something about the Kingdom:
“The Kingdom of God is a Reverse of the Curse”
I asked him—what does that mean? He said to look at Genesis 3. —
So I did—it has the account of Adam and Eve getting thrown out of the garden along with the curses proclaimed upon them and all humanity: death, pain, sickness, and weeds (thorns and thistles).
He said: “Now proclaim the Kingdom upon your driveway and get out there and pull those weeds.”
I protested: But Lord I tried to pull them yesterday and failed.
Nevertheless, I prayed over my driveway and got out there once more and the weeds practically pulled themselves it was so easy. Praise the Lord.
After that, I have made a practice of proclaiming ‘The Kingdom’ and including the Lord (usually by singing worship songs or praying in The Spirit) in all of the work I do. Including all of the yard work, particularly pulling weeds which I still hate, and even shopping at Walmart which is ‘work’ for me since I have been retired. Work has become a blessing rather than a curse.
Jesus came to reverse it all; and in his Kingdom there is no sickness, death, or weeds.
Pain, sickness and death is in this fallen world, but Jesus brought healing, abundant living, and eternal life. The Kingdom is a ‘reverse of the curse’ proclaimed in Genesis 3.
And everywhere he went he proclaimed and demonstrated his Kingdom—healed folks, raised the dead, and set those being oppressed by the Devil free.
I believe that it is our calling as the representatives of Messiah Jesus; to extend the ‘rule’ of God in this world. To do the same things that Jesus did—bring healing and justice, freedom and hope for the poor and oppressed along with the promise for everlasting life. All ‘good news’ and a reverse of the curse brought upon humanity in Genesis 3. .
We are called to be agents of his Kingdom in this fallen world and demonstrate his ‘Good News’ in our lives and proclaim his love and Kingdom everywhere we go to all we come in contact with.
Next in this series: Lesson 5 will focus on the change the Kingdom of God can bring in this life: “Becoming Naturally Supernatural”