“Your kingdom come . . .” (Matt. 6:10a). I must remember that God didn’t give me grace for my kingdom to work, but to capture me for a better kingdom.
It was one of the sweetest, most precious things Jesus said to his disciples. Remember, they were all really focused on “the kingdom.” Not that they were concerned about the honor of the King or the success of his kingdom; no, what obsessed them was their place in that kingdom. For them, the kingdom was about personal power, prominence, and position. Do you remember the incident recorded in Mark 9:30–37?
They went on from there and passed through Galilee. And he did not want anyone to know,for he was teaching his disciples, saying to them, “The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men, and they will kill him. And when he is killed, after three days he will rise.”But they did not understand the saying, and were afraid to ask him. And they came to Capernaum. And when he was in the house he asked them, “What were you discussing on the way?” But they kept silent, for on the way they had argued with one another about who was the greatest.And he sat down and called the twelve. And he said to them, “If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.” And he took a child and put him in the midst of them, and taking him in his arms, he said to them, “Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me, receives not me but him who sent me.”
Right after Jesus told them that he was going to be captured and killed, they didn’t say: “Lord, no, no, you can’t let this happen. What will we do without you?” They weren’t filled with remorse. No, they began fighting with one another about which one of them was the greatest. This is what sin does to all of us. It causes us all to be little self-sovereigns and self-appointed mini-kings. What we really want is for our kingdoms to come and our will to be done right here, right now in our jobs and families. We love being in control. We love getting our own way. We love being indulged and served. We live for being right. We have a wonderful plan for the people in our lives. It is humbling to admit, but we are more like the disciples than unlike them.
So it was a moment of beautiful grace when Jesus looked at these self-oriented disciples and said, “Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom” (Luke 12:32). He was saying: “Don’t you understand? I didn’t come to exercise my power to make your little kingdoms work, but to welcome you, by grace, to a much better kingdom than you could ever quest for on your own.” No matter how counterintuitive it is, it really is true that real life is found only when his kingdom comes and his will is done, and that is exactly what grace welcomes you to.
For further study and encouragement: Matthew 13:44-50
Taken from New Morning Mercies: A Daily Gospel Devotional by Paul Tripp, © 2014, pp. 132-162. Used by permission of Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187, www.crossway.org.