The Second and Third Petitions of the Lord's Prayer
The Second Petition
“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
Thy kingdom come. What does this mean?
Thy kingdom come. What does this mean?
The kingdom of God certainly comes by itself without our prayer, but we pray in this petition that it may come to us also. How does God’s kingdom come?
God’s kingdom comes when our heavenly Father gives us His Holy Spirit, so that by His grace we believe His holy Word and lead godly lives here in time and there in eternity.
In the Name of Jesus, Amen.
As we are studying the Lord’s Prayer throughout the Season of Epiphany, and Epiphany only allows us three more Sundays to study the Lord’s Prayer before Transfiguration and Lent, we will need to take up two petitions a week. Because of this, we cannot get into them extensively as if they each had their own Sermon. Nonetheless, using the Catechism, we can look at the important and salient points of each of these petitions. You can follow up in our Bible Classes that are offered at Church.
The Second Petition deals with God’s Kingdom. “Thy Kingdom Come.” If you remember the sermon from Christ the King Sunday in November, you will recall that there are really three separate Kingdoms of which the Bible teaches, and over which our Lord Jesus rules and reigns.
There is the Kingdom of Power, that is, the world; the Kingdom of Grace, the Church, and the Kingdom of Glory, heaven. We should already know and understand these Kingdoms.
So, the first question that comes to mind is “of which Kingdom does Jesus speak?” Well, everyone is a part of the Kingdom of power. That is the world, and you’re in it, like it or not. So that’s not it.
Second is the Kingdom of Grace. And yes, we pray that this Kingdom would come to us. It comes in Baptism, it comes through faith in Jesus alone. Without this Kingdom coming to us, we would be lost. For it is exactly in this Kingdom that Jesus comes to us with His Means of Grace, Word and Sacrament, and delivers us from the Kingdom of Power. You are “in the world but not of the world.”
Being a part of Jesus’ Kingdom of Grace means that we are a part of Jesus. It is this Kingdom where we are saved. This Kingdom is marked by Jesus continual presence on earth now, not in some future “earthly millennium” This Kingdom can be seen visibly in and through the forgiveness of sins. It is in the Kingdom of Grace where this is received. So, first and foremost, when we pray “Thy Kingdom Come” we are praying to Jesus to save us. It is the cry of salvation that is continually on our lips.
If you’ve ever seen the Luther movie from 2003, Pastor Staupitz confronts a paranoid Luther, who thinks that he is lost in his sins, and, placing a crucifix in Luther’s hand says, “Martin, pray this: I am yours. Save Me!” “I am yours! Save Me” That is a good prayer for you to pray when you feel far away from the Lord, when you know you’ve sinned and don’t deserve forgiveness. “I am yours, save me.” Or, as Jesus says, “Thy Kingdom Come”. It means the same.
But it means more.
Praying that God’s Kingdom come also refers to the Kingdom of Glory. We are praying that God would speed Judgment Day. That He would come and rescue us from all of the evil, all of the hatred, all of the darkness that Jesus allows to exist in the Kingdom of Power, and take us into His eternal Kingdom that knows no night. So, when we pray “thy Kingdom come”, we are not only praying that God would save us, but also that as His saved beloved ones, He would deliver us safely into heaven.
And so we pray, “Thy Kingdom Come.”
And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.”
The Third Petition
The Third Petition
Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. What does this mean? The good and gracious will of God is done even without our prayer, but we pray in this petition that it may be done among us also. How is God’s will done? God’s will is done when He breaks and hinders every evil plan and purpose of the devil, the world, and our sinful nature, which do not want us to hallow God’s name or let His kingdom come; and when He strengthens and keeps us firm in His Word and faith until we die. This is His good and gracious will.
God’s Will. Now we travel a bit deeper into the Mysteries of God. There are four different things about God’s will that we must know to understand the plea which we pray.
God’s will has two faces: Revealed and Hidden. And it has two actions: Passive and Active.
God’s Revealed will is what He tells us about Himself in Scripture. While we have a natural knowledge of God, as we discussed in the Creed, it is in His revealed will, in the Bible, where God tells us who He is, who we are, how we are separated from Him by sin, how our sin brings death, and death leads to eternal hell. But it also tells us what God has done for us in Jesus. Redeemed us. Saved us. Made us His own despite who we are. And He ends death for us and removes the threat of hell. That is God’s revealed will. If you want to know God’s will, go to His Word. If you want to know God’s will for your life, look at the Commandments. If you want to see what God really wills for you, look to Jesus.
His hidden will is just that. Hidden. What He does not tell us we do not know, and neither can we declare it. We don’t know our future, but we know He holds our future. We do not understand why God loves us as He does, especially when we ourselves know who we “really” are. But He just does.
Remember what the word “mystery” means from two weeks ago: Shut your mouth. Where God is silent, so will I be silent. When it comes to God’s hidden will, we simply trust God in faith, take our concerns to Him in Prayer, and know that He loves us. Trust in God is key in the Christian Faith.
Then, we have God’s Active Will and His Permissive will. His active will is part of His revealed will. He actively saves us through Christ, our Lord. If you call upon Him you will be saved. If you pray to Him, He will hear. If you spread His Word, He will bless it. If you feel all alone, you know that God is still with you as He has promised. God’s active will is what God does for us.
Then, there is God’s permissive will. tells us that
for he does not afflict from his heart or grieve the children of men.
Suffering is not from God. It is from sin. It comes from both Adam’s sin and our sin. The ultimate suffering is death and hell, the eternal reward for sin.
When you suffer, don’t make a fist, fold your hands. We look forward to be delivered from all suffering.
Also, do not confuse suffering and punishment with discipline.
God actively punished many times in the Old Testament. He smote His people when they abandoned Him. He drove Israel into exile and disbanded Israel for Her sin. He brought destruction to the Temple each and every time one was built. His people were stiff necked. God singled them out and punished them.
But now, Jesus has come. God punishes you and damns you, and casts you into exile by doing it to Jesus in your place, into whom you are baptized.
Those outside of Christ will one day know what it means to receive God’s wrath, his unchecked cup of destruction, because they rejected Jesus’ payment for their sin and decided to live their lives without Him now. Live without Him now and you’ll be without Him forever.
But today is not the day of judgment, but of salvation.
Discipline is different than this. Sometimes God does actively shut a door on our plans. Sometimes God does allow things to happen to us as we wander from Him for the purpose of both bringing us back, and making our love and dependence on Him stronger than ever. Here, think of a parent. When a parent disciplines, it is always out of love. A mother smacking the hand of her son who makes an attempt to grab the handle of a pan with boiling water is not the act of punishment, but of love. In the same way the Lord protects us with His discipline.
Finally, when we hear the petition in context, we pray that God’s will be done “on earth as it is in heaven.” Is there anything bad in heaven? Is there pain or suffering in heaven? Of course not. This is a plea for the Lord to give us His mercy, love and peace here on earth, in the midst of the Kingdom of Power that seems to excell at its sin. This is a plea that God would give relief from suffering now, peace to our tortured souls, hope to the hopeless. And the Lord will do that.
Thy Kingdom Come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Father in heaven, give us Your Holy Spirit so that we believe Your Holy Word and live as members of your gracious kingdom here in time and finally by Your mercy, be brought to live as partakers of Your everlasting reign. We acknowledge that Your good and gracious will is done without our prayer. We pray that You would defeat all that opposes Your will: the devil, the world, and our own sinful nature. In Your mercy, we implore You to strengthen and keep us firm in Your Word and faith all the days of our lives, and bring us at last the inheritance You have prepared for us in Christ Jesus, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.