The Lord's Prayer in Luke

Luke offers us a much briefer version of the Lord’s Prayer than does Matthew.

Luke 11:1 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.”

Jesus’ normal practice included the retreat into prayer: Luke 6:12; 9:18, 28; 11:1; 22:39-45.

What a great request on the part of the disciples: “teach us to pray”
What a great revelation of motive: “as John taught his disciples” (Keeping up with the competition).

Psalm 10:17 O LORD, You have heard the desire of the humble; You will strengthen their heart, You will incline Your ear

This request, made humbly and with the right motives is a powerful prayer.

Luke 11:2 And He said to them, “When you pray, say: ‘Father, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come.

There is a casualness in our modern praying that has diminished its sacredness and holiness.

Here in Luke Jesus simply says “Father.”

Hallowed (archaic); Make Your name holy

The Greek literally says: Father, Sanctify your name!

“Father, Make your name holy” is the force of this first request. Luke gives it to us in this bare form. In Matthew it is much more adorned: “Our Father, who is in heaven, Make your name holy.” Here is some OT background:

  • Leviticus 10:3 Then Moses said to Aaron, “It is what the LORD spoke, saying, ‘By those who come near Me I will be treated as holy, And before all the people I will be honored.'” So Aaron, therefore, kept silent.
  • Leviticus 22:32 “You shall not profane My holy name, but I will be sanctified among the sons of Israel; I am the LORD who sanctifies you,
  • Ezekiel 20:41 “As a soothing aroma I will accept you when I bring you out from the peoples and gather you from the lands where you are scattered; and I will prove Myself holy among you in the sight of the nations.
  • Ezekiel 28:22 and say, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD, “Behold, I am against you, O Sidon, And I will be glorified in your midst. Then they will know that I am the LORD when I execute judgments in her, And I will manifest My holiness in her.
  • Ezekiel 38:23 “I will magnify Myself, sanctify Myself, and make Myself known in the sight of many nations; and they will know that I am the LORD.”‘
  • Ezekiel 39:27 “When I bring them back from the peoples and gather them from the lands of their enemies, then I shall be sanctified through them in the sight of the many nations.
  • Isaiah 5:16 But the LORD of hosts will be exalted in judgment, And the holy God will show Himself holy in righteousness.

What does it mean for God to make His name Holy??

  • When He is present among His people and therefore honored
  • When He is faithful to His promises
  • When He acts in judgment
  • When He broadens His fame
  • When He saves His people.

The common idea in the later prophets was this call to God to vindicate His name. Israel has profaned the name of God by abandonment, dishonor, unfaithfulness, causing Him to bring judgment, hoarding the beauty of the Lord, and hiding Him from others.

Ezekiel 36:23 “I will vindicate the holiness of My great name which has been profaned among the nations, which you have profaned in their midst. Then the nations will know that I am the LORD,” declares the Lord GOD, “when I prove Myself holy among you in their sight. 24 “For I will take you from the nations, gather you from all the lands and bring you into your own land.

In Ezekiel 36:23ff this vindication of the holiness of God’s name is linked with the prophecy regarding the promise of the Holy Spirit. So here in Luke, Jesus links the teaching of the holiness of the name of God with the plea for the Holy Spirit. Connect the dots:

  • God’s holiness and the holiness of His name is linked with the temple in the Old Testament.
  • The temple was His dwelling place and the vehicle through which all people would see His holiness.
  • The nations would flock to Jerusalem to behold the beauty of the Lord.
  • In this passage, Mary beholds the beauty of Jesus, the one necessary thing (One thing I have asked from the LORD, that I shall seek: That I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, To behold the beauty of the LORD And to meditate in His temple),
  • Here Jesus teaches us to pray asking God to make His name holy again,
  • Jesus caps off his teaching with the assurance that those who ask, seek and knock the heavenly Father will give the Holy Spirit, to come and make His abode with us, to make us holy
  • We are now His temple and messengers to the nations.

In this way God is making his name holy: By bringing judgment upon sin through Christ and so redeeming his people from bondage; In creating a new temple where holiness dwells, the church; In spreading His fame throughout the whole word through the message of the gospel. When the church fulfills her mission the name of God is made holy.

This phrase may in fact be the summary of the work of God in the Bible. He is working to make His name holy among the nations. It should be our prayer. MAKE YOUR NAME HOLY!

Your kingdom come or Bring Your Kingdom!

The kingdom is another predominant theme in the Bible. Here the prayer is for the coming of the Kingdom.

This coming of the kingdom is a source of controversy. In order to answer the question we have to define the Kingdom of God, but this too poses problems. A kingdom consists of a realm, a rule, a reign, subjects and generally opponents.

IN this context we have seen the message of the 70 included the nearness of the kingdom. It should not be divorced from the prior phrase in the Lord’s prayer: Make your name holy. Maybe the best verse to connect these two ideas would be Isaiah 6: I see the Lord, High and lifted up, and the train of his robe filled the temple with glory. The exaltation of the king, the arrival of the king, the expansion of the kingdom are all elements of the coming kingdom.

In many ways the coming of the kingdom and the coming of the king are one and the same. The king comes and brings the kingdom. His presence is a major element of the kingdom. So Jesus in his incarnation can speak of the kingdom of God being in their midst because he had arrived. The coming of the kingdom would include the different elements of the kingdom, and their distribution and implementation would cover a period of time, extending beyond the incarnation but including Pentecost, early church expansion through today and up to the future, whatever that may entail (trying to avoid an eschatological detour here, knowing full well the importance of definition of the kingdom to that discussion).
So the coming of the kingdom sees fulfillment in the coming of Christ and his redemptive work and the coming of the Holy Spirit and His regenerative and expansive work. These are both elements of the kingdom, which is growing and eternal.

  • The realm of the kingdom: the heavens and the earth
  • The rule of the kingdom: far above all “other” rule and authority
  • The reign of the kingdom: for ever and ever
  • The subjects of the kingdom: believers and unbelievers

The last one may be a little tricky for people, but think about it for a moment. There is no one who is not subject to God. It makes no difference if they feel the need to honor the king, He is still the king. Just as in any earthly kingdom there are subjects who are not fans of the ruler, but nonetheless, they still are under his rule.

Luke 11:3 ‘Give us each day our daily bread.

Give us each day our daily bread

The tense of the word give is different from both “make holy” and “bring.” Those two words had punctiliar (point in time) quality whereas “give” has a durative (ongoing) quality.

This part of the prayer connects us to the Exodus and the provision of God in the desert, by means of manna (see Exodus 16:15-22). Now if we take this out of the personal realm for just a minute (I hope we are beyond questioning God’s provision for us) and put it into the context here, we have to ask a question. IN this prayer, is Jesus interested in our physical food, or is he speaking about the same thing he speaks of in John 6:27-33?

“Do not work for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you, for on Him the Father, God, has set His seal.” 28 Therefore they said to Him, “What shall we do, so that we may work the works of God?” 29 Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.” 30 So they said to Him, “What then do You do for a sign, so that we may see, and believe You? What work do You perform? 31 “Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, ‘HE GAVE THEM BREAD OUT OF HEAVEN TO EAT.'” 32 Jesus then said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread out of heaven, but it is My Father who gives you the true bread out of heaven. 33 “For the bread of God is that which comes down out of heaven, and gives life to the world.”

If you know me, you know that I think Jesus is talking about the same bread. As important as it is to eat, Jesus told us not to worry about what we would eat or drink, rather to seek the kingdom. The kingdom bread is life to the world. It is true and lasting sustenance. And Jesus tells us the same thing here, take it a day at a time. Each day, God will supply our daily bread. Each day, people are born again. Each day God sustains his people (Psalm 3:5).

Psalm 19:1-2 The heavens are telling of the glory of God; And their expanse is declaring the work of His hands. 2 Day to day pours forth speech, And night to night reveals knowledge.

Here is a great goal: Pray this prayer more for your spiritual intake, and for the spiritual intake of the world. Could it be that this prayer is a prayer of evangelism? Could it be that the prayer is supposed to change us into people who are gluttons for the spread of the true word which is the life of the world? Jesus has just used another agricultural picture, that of the harvest, to speak of the spread of the kingdom by means of the gospel (10:3). That is a worthy transformation. The prayer is give to “US” not me. That would lend itself to the desire for the food that feeds the world, the us in this passage! Even if you conclude that the us is Christians, then compassion and mercy calls for us to desire this for all (Romans 10:1ff).

Luke 11:4 ‘And forgive us our sins, For we ourselves also forgive everyone who is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation.'”

Forgive us our sins…

Built into the Law was the format for personal forgiveness: Laws of Sabbath and jubilee; cities of refuge, etc., but instead of following these provisions for justice the nation was guilty of injustice and abuse of the poor. The laws of forgiveness were being neglected and therefore the issues of the kingdom were withheld from Israel:

Deuteronomy 15:1-6 “At the end of every seven years you shall grant a remission of debts. 2 “This is the manner of remission: every creditor shall release what he has loaned to his neighbor; he shall not exact it of his neighbor and his brother, because the LORD’S remission has been proclaimed. 3 “From a foreigner you may exact it, but your hand shall release whatever of yours is with your brother. 4 “However, there will be no poor among you, since the LORD will surely bless you in the land which the LORD your God is giving you as an inheritance to possess, 5 if only you listen obediently to the voice of the LORD your God, to observe carefully all this commandment which I am commanding you today. 6 “For the LORD your God will bless you as He has promised you, and you will lend to many nations, but you will not borrow; and you will rule over many nations, but they will not rule over you.

Interestingly enough the Sabbath rules were held over the common man whereas the benefits of Sabbath rules were withheld from him. So this prayer again drives us to be like God. He is a forgiving God, we are to be forgiving people. If you don’t forgive, you probably have not experienced the forgiveness of God. If on this cyclical pattern sevens did the nation practice this part of the law, they would have been a very different nation. So when Ezekiel condemns the people for not caring for the poor and needy, this is part of it.

The expectation of forgiveness is bolstered when we practice forgiveness.

Lead us not into temptation.

Where else would God lead us???

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