Friday, January 4, 2013

The Lord's Prayer Part II - Talking to the Father about the Family, Part 3 of 61

TEXT: "In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread" (Matthew 6:9-11).

IDEA: God knows we have daily needs and He wants us to bring them to Him.

PURPOSE: To help listeners be encouraged to pray for their own needs and the needs of others.

“Give us this day our daily bread.”

Throughout history some prominent church leaders (e.g., Jerome) applied this petition to the bread of the Lord’s Table. Why? They might not say so, but for many people today, religion and daily bread are far removed from each other. We commonly associate God with things like Sunday services and worship, but not with the routine everyday life where we earn and eat our bread.

I. We embrace what Elton Trueblood called the “Angelic Fallacy.”

Do you believe that our bodies and bread are too commonplace for God to care about?

Does God care about what we will have for dinner today?

Would we ever pray to God that a married couple might really enjoy sex?

We human beings do not live by bread alone, but it is equally true that we cannot live without it.

II. Is it too much of a comedown to pray for Christ’s kingdom and then to ask for our daily bread?

It isn’t unusual for the writers of Scripture to put together what we might separate.

A famous example is 1 Corinthians 15 about the resurrection: it ends on an exalted note (1 Corinthians 15:58), followed immediately by “Now about the collection for God’s people.”

How are the two seemingly dissimilar passages related?

There is what E. F. Scott called “the splendid sanity” of Jesus. He didn’t separate what God has brought together.

His incarnation was not in glory but in misery and humility, but somehow they go together.

Jesus was teaching a huge crowd in a desolate location. Late in the afternoon the disciples approached the Teacher and noted that the audience was becoming restless because they were getting hungry. You might have thought that Jesus would have exploded in indignation, “What is food for the stomach compared to what I am doing – teaching the eternal truth of God!” But Jesus knew that there comes a point where the spirit simply cannot compete with the stomach.

Jesus was betrayed by a friend and yet, immediately before it happened, he said, “Now is the Son of Man glorified” (John 13:31).

III. When we ask for daily bread, we honor the Father who cares for the universe and for the likes of us.

When you are interpreting the Lord’s Prayer, things like “bread” may seem trivial compared to God’s kingdom and honor, but if you lack daily bread, then it doesn’t seem “little” at all.

If the little things like bread are not there, the “big things” will not seem very big at all.

It is right and proper that the petition for “daily bread” be at the center of this prayer.