THE GOSPELS 52
Matt. 6: 13
THE FINAL WORDS OF JESUS’ PRAYER
Most older versions of this text close the prayer with, “Deliver us from the evil one. Amen.” There is some question as to whether Jesus simply asked the Father to deliver us from evil, or if He intended to personalize it with Satan as the cause. In either case, the result is the same. Evil exists in the world, whether we attribute it to Satan or not. The simple fact still remains that we are the final deciding factor. Whether temptation comes to us from an active Satan, from our friends and acquaintances and the influence of the world around us, or from our own personal drives and desires, it is still within our own power to choose the path we will follow.
It is very common for people to blame their misbehavior on outside causes, and thus escape the responsibility for their actions. No matter what the circumstances of my past life, or the current influences of society, I am an independent adult, and I have the free power of choice. If I commit a crime, or stray off the path of right, I am the one who made the decision, and no one is to blame except me. The world I live in may make the choices more difficult, but the final answer is still mine. Joshua said it best. When in the face of difficult circumstances, and with much pressure from his peers, Joshua said, “Choose you this day whom you will serve…as for me and my house, we will serve Jehovah”. With that choice one can never go wrong. God will always deliver us from evil, if we will listen to Him.
The King James version, and several others, end the Lord’s prayer with, “Thine is the Kingdom, the power and the glory for ever. Amen.” This is called “The Doxology”. It does not appear in earlier manuscripts but in many later ones. Whether or not Jesus used these words in the model prayer, they are certainly commensurate with what He said throughout the prayer, and I feel they are an appropriate conclusion for us to use. Let’s look at each of these words.
“Thine is the Kingdom”. The entire message which Jesus brought to earth is summed up in the words, “The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand”. In Matthew 4 the writer says, “From that time on [this is the beginning of His ministry] Jesus began to preach, ‘Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand’.” In Matthew 10, when Jesus sent the disciples out to preach, He told them to preach that the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.
The significance of this is that for the first time since the days of Adam sinful men had a way to get back into the Garden with God, i.e., the “Kingdom of Heaven”. With the coming of Jesus, and His subsequent sacrifice, forgiveness was offered, and the gates to the Kingdom were open to all who would come. It is God’s Kingdom, and that is where God, the giver of life, dwells. This prayer, which Jesus taught His disciples to pray, rejoices that the Kingdom is His, and prays that it might cover the earth.
“Thine is the power”. The arrogance of mankind assumes that we have discovered the rules of life and that our code of ethics, which changes with each passing generation, is the ultimate source of right and wrong. What this fails to recognize is that we are creatures, not creators, and that the source of our life is also the source of right and wrong. God is not subject to some set of laws and principles which set the standards for the determination of what is proper and right. As the Creator, He alone has the power to say what is right and wrong. As He created all things, so He is the author of every principle of what is right and what is not. No one can say God ought to do thus and so. He is the standard. So, whether Jesus said the words or not is immaterial. His is the power and the only power to control the world. That is why Jesus said, “Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven”.
Finally, “Thine is the glory”. From the first commandment, which ordered man to worship God and Him alone, to the closing words of Revelation, which describes God as the Alpha and the Omega, we are warned to worship none other than Him. The practice of some, to elevate men to positions of honor and worship, is the ultimate blasphemy. When Jesus said in this prayer, “Hallowed be Thy name”, He set God apart as different and above all others. That is what the word “hallowed” means. Nothing could be worse than allowing the absolute worship of God to be given to any other than Him alone.
When Peter entered the house of Cornelius, and Cornelius fell down before him, he told him to stand up, for he was just a man. Even the angel, on the Isle of Patmos, before whom John bowed down, told him not to do that for he was a servant too and only God was to be worshipped. The custom to elevate and extol human beings as holy and due worship blasphemes God, for His alone is the honor and the glory, now and forevermore.
So, whether Jesus used these words at the end of His prayer or not, they are implied throughout the body of His prayer and are proper to use as a closing “doxology” to this prayer of praise and devotion.