|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
6:9-15 Christ saw it needful to show his disciples what must commonly be the matter and method of their prayer. Not that we are tied up to the use of this only, or of this always; yet, without doubt, it is very good to use it. It has much in a little; and it is used acceptably no further than it is used with understanding, and without being needlessly repeated. The petitions are six; the first three relate more expressly to God and his honour, the last three to our own concerns, both temporal and spiritual. This prayer teaches us to seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and that all other things shall be added. After the things of God's glory, kingdom, and will, we pray for the needful supports and comforts of this present life. Every word here has a lesson in it. We ask for bread; that teaches us sobriety and temperance: and we ask only for bread; not for what we do not need. We ask for our bread; that teaches us honesty and industry: we do not ask for the bread of others, nor the bread of deceit, Pr 20:17; nor the bread of idleness, Pr 31:27, but the bread honestly gotten. We ask for our daily bread; which teaches us constantly to depend upon Divine Providence. We beg of God to give it us; not sell it us, nor lend it us, but give it. The greatest of men must be beholden to the mercy of God for their daily bread. We pray, Give it to us. This teaches us a compassion for the poor. Also that we ought to pray with our families. We pray that God would give it us this day; which teaches us to renew the desires of our souls toward God, as the wants of our bodies are renewed. As the day comes we must pray to our heavenly Father, and reckon we could as well go a day without food, as without prayer. We are taught to hate and dread sin while we hope for mercy, to distrust ourselves, to rely on the providence and grace of God to keep us from it, to be prepared to resist the tempter, and not to become tempters of others. Here is a promise, If you forgive, your heavenly Father will also forgive. We must forgive, as we hope to be forgiven. Those who desire to find mercy with God, must show mercy to their brethren. Christ came into the world as the great Peace-maker, not only to reconcile us to God, but one to another.
Verse 10. - Thy kingdom come. Let there come the full establishment of thy realm. The prayer passes from the personal acceptance in the heart of God's revelation of himself to the consequent result. The clause has a much wider meaning than the development and spread of the Church, or even the personal return of Christ at the second advent. It speaks of that which shall be the issue of both this and that, the final and perfect establishment of God's realm, in which all men will do him willing service, and all habits and customs, individual and social, will be such as he approves of (vide Introduction, p. 25.). Dr. C. Taylor ('Sayings,' etc., Exc. 5.) points out that the coming of the kingdom and the sanctifying of the Name are brought together in Zechariah 14:9; Weiss, ' Life,' 2:349, with many others, says that our Lord probably adapted the frequent Jewish prayer for the coming of the kingdom of Messiah. Thy will be done. Let thy will come into complete existence (γενηθήτω; cf. "Let there be light," Genesis 1:3, LXX.). The thought is not merely God's will realized in this or that action, whether performed or endured by us (cf. Matthew 26:42; Acts 21:14), but God's will as a whole coming into full being. God's will is always in ideal until it is accomplished in act. The connexion of the clause with what has gone before is therefore this - the acceptance of God's manifestation of himself leads to the establishment of his realm, and this to the realization of his will, which until then is only ideal (cf. Matthew 5:18, note, end). If this be all the meaning of the words, they express, in fact, only the ultimate result of the consummation prayed for in the preceding clause (hence this portion of the prayer was in itself complete without our present words; cf. Luke 11:2); but since it is so far a distinct thought that it would not immediately suggest itself, it has a worthy place in the fuller form of the prayer. Possibly, however, more may be intended. The full establishment of the kingdom may be only a part of his loving will, which may, for all we know, have countless other things in view. The highest prayer that we can make in the furtherance of God's cause is that his gracious purpose, his will (whatever it may include) may be fully brought about. In earth, as it is in heaven; as in heaven, so on earth (Revised Version). Probably the words are to be joined to only the immediately preceding clause. In heaven God's will is already realized; not yet on earth, where sin has entered.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Thy kingdom come,.... The form of expression used by the ancient Jews, relating to this article, before the coming of Christ, doubtless was, as it now stands in their prayers (r), , "the kingdom of thy Messiah come". Christ alters the expression, leaves out the word "Messiah", and puts it thus, "thy kingdom come", to let them know that the Messiah was come; and that it was the kingdom of the Father, in the power of his grace, upon the souls of men, they must pray for and expect: however, he conformed to a rule of their's in this, as well as in the former petition (s); that
"every blessing, or prayer, in which there is no , "mention made of the name", i.e. of God, is no prayer; and that every prayer, in which there is not "the kingdom", is no prayer.''
In this petition the disciples were taught to pray for the success of the Gospel, both among Jews and Gentiles; for the conversion of God's elect, in which the kingdom of God would greatly appear, to the destruction of the kingdom of Satan, and the abolition of the kingdom of the beast, in the latter day; which will usher in the kingdom, of the mediator, he will receive from his Father, and this will terminate in the kingdom of glory: in a word, not the kingdom of nature and providence is meant, which always was; but the kingdom of heaven, which was at hand, nay had taken place, though as yet was not very visible, and which is spiritual in the hearts of God's people, Jews and Gentiles; and which will appear exceeding glorious in the latter day, and at last be swallowed up in the ultimate glory; all which must be very desirable by the sincere lovers of Jesus Christ.
Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. There is some appearance of this petition still remaining, in what the (t) Jews call the short prayer:
"what is the short prayer? R. Eliezer says, , "do thy will in heaven"; and give quietness of spirit, or acquiescence of spirit in thy will, to them that fear thee below.''
Christ says "thy will"; not the will of wicked men, nor the will of Satan, nor a man's own will, but the will of God: by which is meant either his secret will, which is the rule of all his proceedings both in providence and grace; is unknown to us, till facts make it appear; is always fulfilled in heaven and in earth; and sometimes is fulfilled by those who have no regard to his revealed will; and is what ought to be submitted to patiently, and without murmuring: or rather his revealed will, which consists partly in the declarations of his grace and mercy; as that salvation is by Christ, whoever believes in him shall be saved, that all the redeemed be sanctified, persevere to the end, and be glorified; and partly in the commands enjoined his people, which will of his is good, perfect, and acceptable. The will of God may be said to be done by us, when our wills are resigned to his; when we patiently submit to every adverse dispensation of providence; when our hearts and actions are, in some measure, conformed to his law; when what is done, is done in faith, with a view to his glory, and without dependence upon it; of which such only are capable who have a spiritual understanding of the will of God, believe in Christ, receive grace and strength from him, and are assisted by his Spirit. These desire to do the will of God, as it is done in heaven; meaning not so much by the inanimate creatures, the sun, and moon, and stars, as glorified saints and holy angels, who do it voluntarily and cheerfully; speedily, and without delay; constantly, and without any interruption; and perfectly and completely.
(r) Seder Tephillot, fol. 128. 2. Ed. Basil. (s) T. Bab. Beracot, fol. 40. 2.((t) Ib. fol. 29. 2.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
10. Thy kingdom come—The kingdom of God is that moral and spiritual kingdom which the God of grace is setting up in this fallen world, whose subjects consist of as many as have been brought into hearty subjection to His gracious scepter, and of which His Son Jesus is the glorious Head. In the inward reality of it, this kingdom existed ever since there were men who "walked with God" (Ge 5:24), and "waited for His salvation" (Ge 49:18); who were "continually with Him, holden by His right hand" (Ps 73:23), and who, even in the valley of the shadow of death, feared no evil when He was with them (Ps 23:4). When Messiah Himself appeared, it was, as a visible kingdom, "at hand." His death laid the deep foundations of it. His ascension on high, "leading captivity captive and receiving gifts for men, yea, for the rebellious, that the Lord God might dwell among them," and the Pentecostal effusion of the Spirit, by which those gifts for men descended upon the rebellious, and the Lord God was beheld, in the persons of thousands upon thousands, "dwelling" among men—was a glorious "coming" of this kingdom. But it is still to come, and this petition, "Thy kingdom come," must not cease to ascend so long as one subject of it remains to be brought in. But does not this prayer stretch further forward—to "the glory to be revealed," or that stage of the kingdom called "the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ" (2Pe 1:11)? Not directly, perhaps, since the petition that follows this—"Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven"—would then bring us back to this present state of imperfection. Still, the mind refuses to be so bounded by stages and degrees, and in the act of praying, "Thy kingdom come," it irresistibly stretches the wings of its faith, and longing, and joyous expectation out to the final and glorious consummation of the kingdom of God.
Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven—or, as the same words are rendered in Luke, "as in heaven, so upon earth" (Lu 11:2)—as cheerfully, as constantly, as perfectly. But some will ask, Will this ever be? We answer, If the "new heavens and new earth" are to be just our present material system purified by fire and transfigured, of course it will. But we incline to think that the aspiration which we are taught in this beautiful petition to breathe forth has no direct reference to any such organic fulfilment, and is only the spontaneous and resistless longing of the renewed soul—put into words—to see the whole inhabited earth in entire conformity to the will of God. It asks not if ever it shall be—or if ever it can be—in order to pray this prayer. It must have its holy yearnings breathed forth, and this is just the bold yet simple expression of them. Nor is the Old Testament without prayers which come very near to this (Ps 7:9; 67:1-7; 72:19, &c.).
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