Tuesday, January 3, 2006
“The Lord Himself is God in heaven above and on the earth beneath; there is no other.” —Deuteronomy 4:39 nkjv
The prayer that we call The Lord’s Prayer begins with a simple phrase: “Our Father in Heaven.” It is hard for us to appreciate how significant and radical a statement like that was to the average mindset in Jesus’ day.
You see, the religious people of that time had such a deep reverence and awe of God that they would not even utter His name. So when Jesus said, “‘In this manner, therefore, pray: our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name’” (Matthew 6:9), that would have been thought of as blasphemous.
But something significant was taking place. Jesus was establishing a new covenant. It would be completed through His death on the cross and His resurrection from the dead. Prior to the arrival of Christ, God’s people would have to approach Him through the high priest. He was their representative, their intercessor, who would go before God once a year on the Day of Atonement and offer an animal sacrifice. There, he would symbolically place the sins of the nation on the animal, a scapegoat.
The Israelites could not just go into God’s presence and have unlimited access to Him. They could not know Him in an intimate and personal way as is possible now. But after Jesus rose again and was met by Mary Magdalene in the Garden of Gethsemane, He said, “Go to My brethren and say to them, ‘I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God’” (John 20:17).
Jesus has opened a new way for us to approach God, and now we can pray to God as our Father.
Copyright © 2005 by Harvest Ministries. All rights reserved.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Bible text from the New King James Version is not to be reproduced in copies or otherwise by any means except as permitted in writing by Thomas Nelson, Inc., Attn: Bible Rights and Permissions, P.O. Box 141000, Nashville, TN 37214-1000.
More by Greg Laurie: http://www.harvest.org/devotional/index.php/5.html