Thy Kingdom Come. (period)
Many know that “Jesus wept.” is the shortest sentence in the Bible. What most believers don’t take too seriously is that “Thy Kingdom Come.” is a close second. But at the same time, where people recognize the period (.) in “Jesus wept.” the body of Christ seems to read right through the period of “Thy Kingdom Come.” giving the prayer a very altered and indiscriminate or arbitrary meaning. Yet the Bible means what is says and says what it means; even if it is just a “period”. This might seem like a small point but it has huge ramifications.
But before we proceed, let’s read that phrase in its context:
It happened that while Jesus was praying in a certain place, after He had finished, one of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, teach us to pray just as John also taught his disciples.” And He said to them, “When you pray, say: ‘Father, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread. And forgive us our sins, For we ourselves also forgive everyone who is indebted to us.’‘” (Luke 11:1-4)
Here in Luke’s version of the Lord’s Prayer we can clearly see that “Your kingdom come.” is left to stand on its own as a complete thought and confined to a single sentence. In actual fact, in Luke there is NO following mention of “Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” as we find in Matthew. This makes it clear that the phrase “Thy Kingdom Come.” is an eschatological prayer! Our eyes and our prayers were to be focused on the future, on the return of the King and His kingdom!
For a collaborating view on this point I offer this from the Pulpit Commentary, one of the largest exhaustive Bible commentaries ever published:
“Thy kingdom come.” It is the prayer for the end, when there will be no more tears and partings, no more sorrow and sin. It tells of the same feeling which John, at the close of the Revelation, expressed in “Even so, come, Lord Jesus.”
“What’s the big deal?” is what you probably are asking! Well, it is a big deal when we read through the “period” and incorporate the prayer for the coming Millennial Kingdom and skip back in time to the present day and include, in the same breath (which makes the two thoughts equal) “Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”
In actual practice by the church, then, our pray becomes morphed into “O God, let your kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven…” which, while maybe not unbiblical, is at odds with what Christ taught us and contrary to the truth. I believe each and every time this happens the church suffers.
This is a hard argument to try and convey so I am deferring to another classical teacher of a more distant age, J.C. Ryle, to put into words this important truth:
Perhaps no part of Scripture is so well known as this. Its words are familiar wherever Christianity is found. Thousands, and tens of thousands, who never saw a Bible or heard the pure Gospel are acquainted with the “Our Father”…
“Thy kingdom come.” By His kingdom we mean, first, the kingdom of grace which God sets up and maintains in the hearts of all living members of Christ by his Spirit and Word. But we mean chiefly the kingdom of glory which shall one day be set up when Jesus shall come the second time, and “all shall know me, from the least to the greatest” (Heb. 8:11 ). This is the time when sin, and sorrow and Satan shall be cast out of the world. It is the time when the Jews shall be converted, and the fullness of the Gentiles shall come in (Rom. 11:25), and a time that is above all things to be desired. (Expository Thoughts on Matthew, John C. Ryle, 1816-1900)
The Kingdom is here and is yet to come in its fullness at the Second Coming d Christ. Countless books have been written on this theme… But still I feel compelled to ask: Can we not join with the thoughts and desires of Jesus when He taught His disciples to pray the simple request “Your Kingdom Come.”?
Pray it with fervor and anxious longing. Pray it everyday. Pray it until He comes again in glory!
Yours for the Coming King,