TODAY’S READING: Matthew 5–7
The Sermon on the Mount functioned in the New Testament the same way the law functioned in the Old. God chose weak Israel (OT) and the frail church (NT) to issue His invitation to all peoples of earth. The law of Moses and the law of Christ teach us how to live so that we might be worthy of bearing the invitation of God to the ends of the earth. The Sermon on the Mount cannot be understood outside the missionary heart of God. When we live holy lives, God lives among us and blesses us. Blessed, we confidently penetrate all unreached peoples with the gospel, making disciples and planting churches as advanced outposts of the Kingdom. Oceans of ink have been spilt concerning the Kingdom of God, and it is necessary to build our understanding on original context. “Teaching His disciples to pray (Matt. 6:9, 10) Jesus adapted a fairly common Jewish prayer called the Kaddish that came to be prayed regularly in the synagogues: ‘Exalted and hallowed be His great name…and may He cause His kingdom to rule…’ This was a prayer for the future kingdom. The Jewish people longed for the ultimate coming of God’s reign when He would rule the earth unchallenged and restore justice and mercy in all the world.”
The prayer Jesus taught His disciples to pray is a missionary prayer. It is a cry for Jesus to come back again in glory and power. It is a longing for that great day of the Lord when all nations will be gathered around the throne worshiping Jesus. No longer will the nations deny His deity and take Him lightly. Jesus shall descend with a shout, fire in His eyes and sword in His hand, to establish His eternal reign, and no one will dare diminish His unquestioned, unending majesty. Every time we pray the Lord’s Prayer let us remember it is the grandest missionary prayer of all. It is our “Maranatha”: Come, Lord Jesus, and be hallowed in every language by every tongue. To construe the Kingdom or this prayer in any other advent is to misunderstand the Bible.
The reason Jesus went into such detail in this sermon was because “hallowing God’s name was a central principle of Jewish ethics: Live even among the Gentiles in such a manner that people will honor God.” A holy life always has global purpose: that all the nations may revere the name of Jesus. The law of Moses and the law of Christ are united in spirit and strategy: Live in such a way that God is honored. When God is honored, He tabernacles with us. When God tabernacles with us, we are blessed. When we are blessed, we have the resources to preach the gospel to the ends of the earth. When we preach the gospel to the ends of the earth among all peoples, the end will come, the King will descend, the kingdom will be established, and all will be right forever.