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Monday, March 13, 2017

03122017 - Second Sunday in Lent - “God's Kingdom comes for all of mankind!”

March 12, 2017
“God's Kingdom comes for all of mankind!”

When I crossed the divide between the Jewish part of Jerusalem by the wailing wall in March 1999 and entered onto the Mount where the Dome of the Rock stood, it became abundantly and quickly clear that this wall wasn’t a simple earthen wall.  The sheer thickness, the size of the stones, the clear precision needed in fitting each unique block not only tells a story, but clearly shows the zeal of one man, Nehemiah.  You see, Nehemiah, helped rebuild the walls of Jerusalem nearly 2500 years ago, or 500 years before the time of Christ and this was done without the aid of our modern machinery.
What Nehemiah found in the Holy City of Jerusalem was destruction, but Nehemiah was inspired and given by God a forward looking vision to see, understand and the knowhow by the grace of God to rebuild the walls of the city.  For it was not only the city Nehemiah was looking to rebuild, but Nehemiah was looking beyond himself to insure that “God’s Kingdom comes for all of mankind!
Nehemiah for we who gather today is another of the pieces of this jigsaw puzzle of life that we are putting together about the Lord’s Prayer during this Lenten season.  When we pray the prayer Jesus taught, the Lord’s Prayer, it is so God may be Glorified not by our selfish actions, but in order that God’s Glory would be revealed and it would be fulfilled that “God’s Kingdom comes for all of mankind!” 
God’s Kingdom comes for all of mankind was Nehemiah’s main focus, in the restoration of the walls for the city of Jerusalem, because, Nehemiah wasn’t only looking at the problem right before him of a destroyed wall.  Nehemiah was seeing a people that were downtrodden, burdened by the culture, the community and the centrality of moving away from the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.  Yet, Nehemiah also knew and believed that “God’s Kingdom comes for all of mankind!”  For Nehemiah was looking to a future we now know was 450 years in the future when the Messiah Jesus Christ would come and not replace the law, but fulfill it in insuring that “God’s Kingdom comes for all of mankind!”.
You see, “God’s Kingdom comes for all of mankind” and Nehemiah’s preparation looked with eyes of faith.  This is the same faith that we share with Nehemiah when we pray the Lord’s Prayer.  Not only do we address “Our Father” and make His “Name Holy”, but we pray for God’s Kingdom to come.  It is not a prayer of denial, but a prayer of faith in what God would and did accomplish clearly with Jesus entrance in a lowly manger in Bethlehem.  His calling the disciples who individually were looking for the Messiah, but collectively would only after Jesus death, burial, resurrection and ascension, be given the greatest gift of the Holy Spirit.  These same men asked Jesus to teach them how to pray and the prayer we pray every week, is the same prayer they would be empowered to pray and has been passed down to us today.
Yet, why does “God’s Kingdom comes for all of mankind”?  Simply this is a result of God’s love for each and every one of us.  God Who is love, wants to insure His Kingdom comes for all of mankind.  This is God’s gift for us.  God’s love not only melts that hard hearted, but clearly can, does and continues to impact us today.  Hence why we pray the Lord’s Prayer weekly.  Why when we gather at Wheat Ridge for Holy Communion or in the privacy of members houses when the Lord’s Supper is brought, the Lord’s Prayer is prayed as the expression of our faith, just like Nehemiah and each of us today.

It is this same faith and belief that “God’s Kingdom comes for all mankind” that looks clearly for an event, we did not personally experience, but one which impacts us clearly and tangibly today.  The hymn we are about to sing, “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross” connects us to the events outside the walls of Jerusalem and clearly draws the picture of the faith we pray in the Lord’s Prayer.  Isaac Watts clearly points to the truth we look to of God’s Kingdom coming and that it is not just for a select few.  This gift of grace out of Jesus love for us, empowers us to lay claim to God’s love and understand, the life of true Christians, cannot be earned by us, but is only earned by Jesus Christ on the Cross of Calvary.  Yet, it also as he wrote, “demands my soul, my life, my all”, because of the great gift of love from God.  For God offers us the gift of salvation with forethought in mind and the true knowledge of the grace He offers us freely, without our own merit, because, “God’s Kingdom comes for all of mankind” including all of us saints gathered here at Emmanuel who pray in faith the Lord’s Prayer.  AMEN.

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