Wednesday, July 15
On earth as it is in heaven. (Day 2 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 is exploring the impact of “on earth as it is in heaven” on the three main clauses in this sentence.
Today: “Your kingdom come, on earth as it is in heaven.”
God’s Kingdom certainly comes without our prayer. But here we pray that His Kingdom will come also to us. The Kingdom of God is the present rule and reign of Christ, as King, in the hearts of people. When God’s Holy Spirit leads us and others to believe God’s Word and to live our lives for Christ, there is the Kingdom of God. In these days of the pandemic this prayer has great practical value. “Your kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven.” We ask that the blessing of His Kingdom presence would be in our hearts and lives. We ask that the power of God’s Kingdom would impact others so that they come to believe in Christ. We seek the healing touch of God’s Kingdom to bring restoration and wholeness to the humanity and especially to those who are sick. We do not have to wait for heaven to experience the Kingdom of God. We have it here, now.
Prayer: Father, may your kingdom come, on earth as it is in heaven. Amen.