“Pray like this:
Our Father in heaven,
may your name be kept holy.
May your Kingdom come soon.
May your will be done on earth,
as it is in heaven.
Give us today the food we need,
and forgive us our sins,
as we have forgiven those who sin against us.
And don’t let us yield to temptation,
but rescue us from the evil one.” (Matthew 6:9–13 NLT)
Because of the importance of the Lord’s Prayer and how much Jesus packs into these five verses, we are going to split them up into four devotionals. Today we’ll look at verse 10.
If Jesus’s reference to our Father in heaven was in contrast to Caesar as father of the empire, then the contrast continues with Jesus’s reference to the Kingdom of heaven. Most Jews in the first century were opposed to the kingdom of the Roman Empire and they were eagerly awaiting the kingdom to that was to be ushered in by the Messiah, who they thought would overthrow Rome and bring liberation to Israel. Tax collectors like Zacchaeus were so disliked not just because they were tax collectors but because they chose to work for Rome, which was seen as a betrayal of Israel and her people. A “good” first-century Jew stood in opposition to Rome – sometimes through violent uprising – and stood in support of Israel’s independence.
In reality, this stance was simply trading between one earthly kingdom and another. A quick glance through any history book will show that not all kingdoms, empires, regimes, or governments are created equal; some are far worse than others in the atrocities they commit. Yet, there has never been a kingdom of this world – nor will there ever be – that has not committed some monstrous injustice. The only kingdom where there will be an endless procession of righteous living is the Kingdom of Heaven.
Everything we do – every choice, word, and action – is in service to one kingdom or another. There is no shortage of kingdoms to choose from; country, self, family, occupation, religion, and heaven are all popular choices, but there is only one Kingdom that will ultimately outlast all others. As you go about your day, in every decision you make, first ask yourself what kingdom you want to serve.