Matthew 6:10b [Y]our will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
The night before he was crucified, Jesus asked his heavenly Father to spare his life (Matthew 26:39). Knowing Judas was on his way with a band of soldiers, Jesus could have run. But instead he prayed, not my will, but yours be done (Luke 22:42). Whenever God’s will contradicts our will, it takes the form of a cross. Part of us wants to run away, but instead we pray, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
In fact, it is our belief in heaven that helps us do this. If this world is all there is, we are compelled to grab all the pleasure we can, and to shun all the pain we can. But if there really is a place where there’s no more death or mourning or crying or pain (Revelation 21:4), where every day is better than the one before, where thoughts are clearer and bodies are stronger, and there is no possibility of sin, sorrow or sickness—then the will of God becomes a joy, and every crucifixion results in a little resurrection.
Matthew 6:11 Give us today our daily bread.
This is what God did for the Israelites as they traveled to the Promised Land. There were not many stores in the desert, so God gave them manna from heaven. It was white like coriander seed and tasted like wafers made with honey (Exodus 16:31), wrote Moses. All they had to do was go outside and pick it up, and there was always enough.
But how much is enough? Daily bread is fine, but I really want a big screen TV, a three car garage, and a million dollars in the bank. And yet, Jesus never had much money. He was born in a borrowed stable (Luke 2:7), and buried in a borrowed tomb (Matthew 27:57-60). He made the world in which we live, but had no place to lay his head (Matthew 8:20).
And when it was time to pay the temple tax, he and Peter were short of cash. So Jesus told Peter to catch a fish, and in the fish’s mouth was a four-drachma coin—just enough for the two of them (Matthew 17:24-27). But why not a six-drachma coin so they could all go out for ice cream?
According to Luther’s Small Catechism, Daily bread includes everything needed for this life, such as food, drink, clothing, shoes, house, home and the like. I agree with that, but we are never taught to pray for excess.
[G]ive me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread. Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, Who is the Lord? Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God (Proverbs 30:8-9), says Proverbs.
This agrees with the old English prayer. Give us Lord a bit of sun, a bit of work, a bit o fun. Give us all in the struggle and sputter, our daily bread and a bit of butter.
Matthew 6:12 And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
The reason Christians are so forgiving is because we have been so forgiven. When we were overwhelmed by sins, you forgave our transgressions (Psalm 65:3). [A]s far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us (Psalm 103:12). Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow (Isaiah 1:18).
[Y]ou have put all my sins behind your back (Isaiah 38:17). I . . . am he who blots out your transgressions . . . and remembers your sins no more (Isaiah 43:25). I have swept away your offenses like a cloud, your sins like the morning mist (Isaiah 44:22). [I] will forgive all their sins of rebellion against me (Jeremiah 33:8). [Y]ou will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea (Micah 7:19).
[E]veryone who believes in [Jesus] receives forgiveness of sins (Acts 10:43). [T]hrough Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you (Acts 13:38). Blessed is the one whose sin the Lord will never count against them (Romans 4:8). [He will] present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation (Colossians 1:22). He forgave us all our sins (Colossians 2:13). When we begin to understand the extent of God’s forgiveness, it becomes easier to forgive those who have hurt us.
I read about a Christian family with a beautiful home and wonderful children—but mother has a gambling problem. It is so bad, in fact, that she steals from her family to support her addiction. She has been to doctors, counselors and pastors, but nothing seems to help. And yet, her husband keeps forgiving her.
She’s a good mom, most of the time, and my children need her. But more than that they need to know the love of their God. How can they know of a Father in heaven who forgives them, if their own father will not even forgive their own mother? I’m not sure that is the best strategy, but it makes the point. Forgive us our debts as we also have forgiven our debtors.
Matthew 6:13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.
Temptation is not the same as sin, but it brings us very close to sin. Sometimes that agrees with us because we enjoy the pleasure of being tempted. You might be on a diet, but decide to bake cookies, because you enjoy the aroma of freshly baked cookies. The aroma does not have any calories, so there is no harm in baking cookies, as long as you do not eat them. The argument makes sense, but is it wise?
An American student in Ecuador attended a bullfight. At one point, the fans were invited to enter the ring, and get as close to the bull as they dared. The student approached the bull from behind, and wanted to touch it, in order to have bragging rights. Unfortunately, the bull turned around and thrashed him so severely that he had to be hospitalized. I thought I could get close and run away, but I was wrong, he said. The best way to avoid the devil is to keep a little distance. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.
Reflection and Review
How does heaven change your view of this life?
Why does God want you to know that you are forgiven?
Why does God allow temptation?