Prepared by Dr. John E. Marshall
Matt. 6:13d “For. . .”
The ascription of praise which begins here was not part of Jesus’ original prayer. It is “the Church’s echo to the Lord’s Prayer” (Maclaren). Jews never ended public prayers without a doxology, thus one was added to the Lord’s Prayer. In The Didache, a document written about twenty years after the last New Testament book, this prayer ends, “for thine is the power and the glory forever. Amen.”
By the year 300 A.D. “the kingdom” had also become part of the doxology. This phrase of praise has supplied a felt need within the Church, and though we may rightly remove it from our texts, seventeen hundred years of use probably assures it will not be soon removed from our prayers. I concur with the loving pastor’s heart of Alexander Maclaren, “Long association has for us intertwined the words inextricably with our Lord’s Prayer, and it is a wound to reverential feeling to strike out what so many generations have used in their common supplications.”
As long as we put the phrase in proper perspective and acknowledge its role as the Church’s echo, using the doxology is perfectly acceptable. The phrase is in fact totally Biblical, taken from David’s ascription of praise to God in I Chronicles 29:11.
Matt. 6:13e “. . .thine is the kingdom,. . .”
All sovereignty is inherently invested in Jesus. He alone has intrinsic authority to justly govern all things. Christ is King of kings and Lord of lords even now. This fact may sometimes seem hard to believe. The kingdom of this world often appears to belong to fate or chance or even to evil itself, but rest assured Jesus is in the final analysis Earth’s supreme ruler, reigning with absolute authority.
To acknowledge “thine is the kingdom” is to say we pledge to King Jesus our own personal disciplined obedience. We thereby admit we are under orders, having a mandate to fulfill, a kingdom to extend, a Savior to tell the world about.
In ancient Korea, rulers sent messages with couriers who wore medallions bearing the king’s official seal. The reverse side of the medallions bore images of horses. The number of horses indicated the urgency of the message. One or two horses signified a message of low priority that could be delivered at a casual pace, but five horses, the maximum number, meant the message concerned a matter of life and death. A messenger wearing a five-horses medallion was protected by the full weight of the king’s authority. No one was to hinder him. It was as if the king himself were riding. Today many Korean Christians wear facsimiles of these old medallions. On the front is engraved the cross; on the back five horses. Pray for God to give us all a renewed sense of urgency about kingdom matters, a new passion for our King’s business. His is the kingdom, ours is the task of spreading it.
Matt. 6:13f “. . .and the power, and the glory,. . .”
“The power”–I love this note of unbounded confidence. Christians should never fear and never doubt the final outcome. God is able and sufficient, having “the power” to provide all we need. He and He alone has this “power.” Thus, to Him and Him alone belongs all “the glory.” To ascribe glory unto Him means we seek no honor for ourselves, but praise Him for all we are and ever hope to be. All honor all the time belongs to Jesus. The Pharisees felt the crowd was being too complimentary of Christ during His triumphal entry, but He responded, “If these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out” (LK 19:40).
Matt. 6:13g “. . .for ever. Amen.”
Praise will be the never ending, ever ongoing, work of Heaven. Thus, let us begin our Heaven now. It always becomes Christians to be lavish in their praise.
We are glad the glory will be His forever. Even eternity will not last long enough to give Jesus all the praise He deserves. We will eternally do it because it is eternally due Him. He shall forevermore be “the central Figure on the whole drama of the universe” (Keller). In light of this, I sound a solemn note. Before this timeless One we will all one day stand and give an account. Are we ready?
Matt. 6:14 “For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will
also forgive you:”
After ending the Lord’s Prayer, our Master retraced His steps, giving special emphasis to forgiveness. By reiterating only this one concept, He showed its vital importance. It would be presumption to take lightly what He stressed highly here.
Our duty to forgive others contains no loopholes. I heard a world renowned preacher say he felt no need to forgive a lady who had hurt him deeply because she had not asked him to. The preacher claimed not even God forgave people until after they asked for it. This assertion is true legally, but not dispositionally. A predisposition to forgive must already exist before forgiveness is asked for. Jesus, dying on the cross, had a forgiving heart though the soldiers were not seeking it (LK 23:34). The same can be said of Stephen and his executioners (AC 7:60). Our duty is to be always prepared to declare others forgiven, even before they ask.
Whether our adversaries ask for forgiveness or not, we are required to turn the other cheek, go the second mile, love our enemies, bless them that curse us, do good to them that hate us, pray for them which despitefully use us (MT 5:39-44), harbor no sign of malice, and seek no revenge. All this is to be done unconditionally. In other words, act in such a way that our offender is wooed to come request forgiveness. Our very demeanor should throw open the door, inviting them to ask.
We are not allowed to nurture bitterness, justifying it because our antagonist did not ask for forgiveness. Let us ever ask self the hard questions, “Do I rejoice when I hear of calamity befalling one who wronged me? Do I nurse my anger, constantly rehearsing the event again and again?” Forgive. No loopholes allowed.