Whose Kingdom is it Anyway? (Luke 19-21)


Every night when I tuck our youngest child to sleep we whisper the Lord’s prayer together. Right now it’s the only way she knows to pray. When I started to teach it to her I was worried it would become something she would just vainly parrot from memory. Certainly she doesn’t understand everything she says in that prayer yet. I was worried it would lose meaning, but as we have prayed together every night I have noticed that as I repeat this prayer that the themes are never old. It is always fresh. Some nights I remember I am in need for forgiving others as Jesus teaches in the prayer. Other days I realize I’ve not been seeking His Kingdom to come and His will to be done and so I repent. These simple words that Jesus has given us as a model prayer have served to keep my focus when I have stopped and prayed them with intention.

I have come to admire the first part of the prayer in particular where he teaches us to pray, “YOUR kingdom come, your will be done.” It places the focus back squarely on the Lord. At this point in the prayer I haven’t even asked for daily bread or even the forgiveness of my sins. To pray the rest of the prayer you have to first bow a knee and recognize Jesus as Lord. When Jesus is Lord, everything else falls into place.

The problem in today’s reading was that there were several men who didn’t want Jesus to be the Messiah. they didn’t want him to be Lord. They were well known. They were wealthy. They had built small little kingdoms based off of their knowledge of the scriptures. When the real messiah came to town rather than honoring the Lord, they wanted to murder him.

Jesus has made a be-line for Jerusalem. He is headed to the cross and on his way he preaches and shares a few parables aimed at demonstrating the incompetence and cowardice of the religious leaders. In the one parable (Luke 19:11-27) he talks about stewards who are given charge over the masters money and given a task to multiply it through whatever means they might have a mind to. The point is that these men were stewards. They were handling someone else’s resources. Those who handled things well were rewarded, those who didn’t faced severe consequences.

Jesus shares a more explicit parable (Luke 20:9-18) aimed right at the Pharisees, scribes, and Sadducees. He compares the leaders to murderous tenants who had leased a vineyard from a wealthy land owner, but don’t want to share the fruit of their labors. They very obviously step across the boundaries of being tenants to the point that they even murder the land owners son. They forgot their place. It wasn’t their vineyard. It belonged to the master and he would set his house in order.

So often in ministry and life we want to tell the LORD what to do. We forget that we owe Him everything. We are just stewards and tenants. We really are to pray for HIS Kingdom to come and HIS will to be done. The religious leaders had forgotten that along the way. They stopped being good stewards, they had stopped being good tenants, they found themselves complicit in a conspiracy to murder Jesus.

Father, we freely confess and pray for your kingdom to come and your will to be done on earth as it is in heaven. We recognize that your kingdom is breaking into this world. We recognize that we are stewards and tenants of the kingdom. We don’t call the shots, you certainly do. Give us grace today to bow a knee, humble trust you and see you move in our lives. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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