Tuesday, July 14

On earth as it is in heaven. (Day 1 of 3)

The Greek text of Matthew 6 records the following words from Jesus as one full sentence.  Our Father in heaven, holy be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Some translations break this sentence into two. Such a change in the sentence structure would miss out on what is a key dynamic in these verses. The final clause “on earth as it is in heaven” modifies each of the three previous clauses. Thus, you could think of this prayer as:
“Holy be your name, on earth as it is in heaven.”
“Your kingdom come, on earth as it is in heaven.”
“Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”

Such an understanding of the prayer would not only have grammatical support, but it would also align with the teaching of Jesus. Jesus came to announce the present coming of the Kingdom of God.  Jesus did not present the Kingdom as solely eternal life in heaven. His understanding of the Kingdom focused on the present experience of the Kingdom here on this earth. Thus, the phrase: On earth as it is in heaven” is rightly understood as the present experience of Christ living in the hearts of people. 

For three days this devotional email will explore the impact of “on earth as it is in heaven” on the three main clauses in this sentence.  

Today: “Holy be your name, on earth as it is in heaven.” “Holy” can be defined as: set apart,” “reverenced,” “worshipped” or “honored.” God’s “name” (his person, character, essence, identity, etc.)  is holy whether we pray for it to be holy. But in this prayer, we ask that God’s “name” would be holy in our lives. In the same way that God is revered, honored, and worshipped in heaven, so we pray that in our lives (on this earth) we would have the same attitude toward God. God’s name is holy when His Word is the central truth for our lives, and we seek to lives our lives in accordance with that Word. When we live contrary to the Word of God, we profane God’s name.

You probably don’t have to look too deeply to find places where you have chosen to act contrary to God’s Word. Thus, the need to pray this prayer often. 

Prayer: Lord, please forgive me for the times I live as if your Word was not relevant. Help me to live in such a way that your name (who you are) is honored in my life even as it is honored in heaven.  Amen.