The Lord’s Lord’s prayer

The Lord’s Lord’s prayer

Pray then in this way:
Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come.
Your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Matthew 6:9–10

We all know the Lord’s prayer, well in the gospel we just read you’ve heard the first part of the Lord’s Lord’s prayer. Jesus is using the pattern he established at the sermon on the mount. It’s not an exact match but you can see that pattern…

At the end of the previous chapter Jesus pretty much says his work is done, all the teachings, all the miracles are finished.

Take courage; I have conquered the world!
John 16:33

And so this prayer is really a prayer of triumph.

It’s a summary of all that’s gone before in this gospel. Here we find Jesus’ obedience to the Father; the glorification of his father through his death and resurrection; the revelation of God in Jesus Christ; the choosing of the disciples out of the world; their unity modelled on the unity of the Father and the Son; and the promise that their final destiny is to share in the glory of the Father and the Son in eternity.

Unfortunately, we don’t have time to look at the whole chapter, I hope to come back in a few weeks and we’ll look at part two then.

Our Father in heaven,

After Jesus had spoken these words, he looked up to heaven and said, “Father
John 17:1

Jesus knows where his Father is, he’s in heaven. It doesn’t say, Jesus turned his eyes inward, gnosticism (the cult of secret knowledge in the first century) and spiritualism and many eastern religions will say we have all that is divine within us.

hallowed be your name.

glorify your Son so that the Son may glorify you,
John 17:1

The first thing he prays is that God would glorify him. Now at first you might think this sounds a bit selfish. But Jesus being glorified is not a simple thing. Jesus knows his glorification comes at a terrible price:

The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.
John 12:23–24

The greatest reason for asking is so that he might glorify the Father. This is the thing that characterises all of his ministry on earth. He has come to glorify the Father.

Your kingdom come

The death of that grain of wheat, that one and only Son of God is necessary to fulfil God’s plan of redemption.

For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.
Romans 5:10

The Kingdom of God only comes through Jesus. Our eternal life and justification is only made possible by his taking the sins of the world onto that cross.

Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

Looking back to that earlier occasion, Jesus reveals that he’s not happy:

“Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But for this purpose I have come to this hour. Father, glorify your name.”
Then a voice came from heaven: “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.”
John 12:27–28

Nevertheless, it’s the Father’s will be done… Here’s a question for us:

When we, (you and me as individuals or collectively as the church) pray for ourselves, our family and friends, and our church, are we asking God to bring about His own glory through the things we do?

Are you placing yourself in God’s plan for the world, so that the things God does through you will bring forward his plan of salvation for the whole world?

I’m afraid that too often I find myself praying that sort of prayer with motives that are very mixed. Seeking my own glory or my own ends, for my own sake, rather than for the sake of God and his glory.

Part of God’s will for the earth is his kingdom here, and its citizens.

Jesus thoughts then move on naturally to those that the Father has given him. There’s a close bond between the disciples and Jesus and that comes out very clearly:

I have manifested your name to the people whom you gave me out of the world. Yours they were, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word.
John 17:6

These disciples are his special charges, God’s entrusted them to him, like a foster parent might be given the responsibility of raising someone else’s children. And he’s saying, “I’ve fulfilled your charge to me. I’ve made you known to them. They’ve believed my word.”

So he prays for them, for those that the Father has given him, because they also belong to the Father. And what does he pray?

And now I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them
John 17:11

Do you remember last week? Jesus promised that he wouldn’t leave us as orphans. One of the dangers for orphans is that they are defenceless. They have no-one to protect them from people who would seek to do them harm. So now he prays that God the Father would take over the role of protecting them from the dangers of living in this world.

But what do we need to be protected from? You might think Satan, and that’s certainly true but that’s not what Jesus is asking for here. In this sentence —

Holy Father, protect them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one, as we are one.
John 17:11

Jesus has already given them his new commandment:

I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.
John 13:34–35

This is the mark of the Christian Church, the love, the sharing of burdens, the forgiving one another and the mutual help and encouragement.

Jesus gave that command, as that is really the essence of the kingdom of his Church on earth. As Paul puts it in his letter to the Ephesians:

I… urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
Ephesians 4:1–6

The great danger for the disciples, and for the church, is that they’ll be broken apart by division.

Their unity with each other and with Jesus is a sign to the world that Jesus was indeed sent by the Father and that they are loved by the Father.

Our unity as a Church in itself brings glory to God. Do people look at us and see a people as one? Loving each other, bearing with one another in love?

Eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace?

Let’s pray that it might be so…


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