John A. Braun
Believers have always longed for the Lord’s kingdom to come. The Old Testament believers, like Abraham, were “looking for the city that is to come” (Hebrews 13:14). We also pray for its coming the way John ends Revelation. When the Lord promises, “Yes, I am coming soon,” believers respond, “Amen. Come, Lord Jesus” (Revelation 22:20).
Our prayer is a longing for the perfect kingdom Jesus promised, a place where there is no more death, sorrow, pain, or crying. It springs from hearts that daily endure the harsh realities of life in the trenches of unrest, anger, immorality, addiction, and all that comes with them. Here we have nothing perfect. We anticipate something much better because Jesus, our King, has promised it will come.
But Jesus reminded his disciples that the kingdom of his Father is more than a distant hope. It already exists (Luke 17:21). All those who listen to the gospel and believe become citizens even though they must wait for its glorious coming. The glory waits, but not the love and care of God.
Our Father placed all things under the power and authority of Jesus (Ephesians 1:22). Now Jesus rules his kingdom so that all things work for the good of those who love him (Romans 8:28). That’s the kingdom we pray will continue to advance.
Perhaps we need to remember that our King came here and lived with us as a poor, humble servant. He stood accused of treason and bound before Pilate. In his interview with the Roman official, Jesus maintained he was a king, but his kingdom was not of this world. It was different.
When we remember Jesus before Pilate, we begin to understand how different the kingdom of God is. It is not kingdom of power, borders, armies, decrees, or legislative action. It is a kingdom of God’s action on behalf of his people—quietly, relentlessly, efficiently carried out by an unseen and unnoticed almighty God who loves his own.
Our great King now rules even in the presence of his enemies. Today, the headlines announce how often the enemies of Christ seek to destroy his kingdom and belittle or even persecute his people. They almost always seem to be more powerful, more successful, and more important than Christ’s kingdom. But Jesus reminds us that even hell itself cannot overcome his kingdom (Matthew 16:18).
The gospel of Jesus had called, gathered, and enlightened sinful humans like us. We are his kingdom waiting for the glory to come. When we pray, “Your kingdom come,” we recognize that we are citizens of his kingdom and pray that he will keep us as his subjects.
We could say that Christ’s kingdom is a kingdom of words because his power is in the words of the gospel of forgiveness. That power not only sustains us as his own, but it also brings others to treasure the grace of God. In spite of attempts to wipe Christians from the face of the earth, the kingdom of God continues to claim new believers and to sustain all those who trust in him. Your kingdom come, Lord.
Sometimes we need to remember that the kingdom is his, not ours. This is a prayer to “our Father in heaven,” and we pray, “Your kingdom come”—not mine or ours. We are challenged to see that we do indeed contribute to the rule of Christ our King, but we serve him. We pray that God would keep us focused on his kingdom and our humble service to him while we are here waiting for his glorious kingdom to come.
John Braun is executive editor of the Forward in Christ magazine.
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Author: John A. Braun
Volume 104, Number 9
Issue: September 2017
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