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Wednesday, September 28, 2011


Okay, that was an obscure title. You know WWJD -- What would Jesus do? And then we play that difficult little game trying to figure out exactly how Jesus would handle the Palestinian request for statehood or whether or not He would buy a hybrid car or the other odd questions people ask that seem impossible to answer. This one is not that one. This one is What would Jesus care about? And we're not going to play a guessing game for this one.

Jesus told His disciples how to pray. He taught them what should concern them the most. Thus, He taught them His highest concerns.
Pray then like this: "Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil" (Matt 6:9-13).
What do we learn about the things Jesus cared about (or desired that His disciples care about)? Avoiding temptation and avoiding evil are on the list. Forgiving others is prevalent. (Remember, He went on to say, "For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses" (Matt 6:14-15). So that's important.) And, of course, it is fitting and proper to care about having your basic needs met. This is something that the Master taught His disciples to pray.

There are a few more, but I wanted to try a little experiment (the data from which I will never be able to gather). Looking at the text, what is Jesus's first petition? There is every reason to think that the first thing Jesus tells His disciples to ask for would likely be the most important thing -- His highest priority. What is that first request?

Most people would say that His first request is "Your kingdom come." Most people would say that the first sentence (as it is structured in this version) would constitute the address. To whom are we praying? Well, we're praying to our Father in heaven, the one whose name is holy. Thus, the first petition is that His kingdom would come. That, however, would not be quite accurate. Look at the choice of words. If Jesus had intended to say that the Father's name was holy, He would have said, "Hallowed is Your name." He didn't. Jesus's first prayer, His first petition, His highest priority is rather that the Father's name would be regarded as holy -- "Hallowed be Your name."

What did Jesus care about? If His instruction on prayer was any measure, He cared about our forgiveness and whether or not we forgive others. He cared about our daily needs and He cared about our sin avoidance. He cared that God's will would be done and that His kingdom would be present. But above all -- before anything else -- Jesus's highest concern and first request was that the Father's name would be regarded as holy.

As a follower of Christ, is that your highest concern, your first petition, your life's aim?

1 comment:

Miklós said...

If someone would ask me, what does it mean to know the Voice of the Lord, I could show this post as an example. Not about earthquakes, wars, economic collapse, end of the world, but recognizing a great God in a small detail, the almighty God. Glorifying the Father, who's love draws like a huge magnet.