Jesus told the men and women following him to say a prayer that Jesus, himself, was exempt from. Don’t worry, he wasn’t being hypocritical.
Have you heard the Lord’s prayer? If you never have, here it is: Our Father in heaven, hallowed by your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
It’s a beautiful slice of meditative prose and a central rhythm in the beat of Christian life. Each petition is perfect to be recited by any one of us. In fact, this prayer is one of the two things I say every morning. But one thing Jesus taught his followers to repeat in the Lord’s Prayer didn’t apply to himself. Check this:
Jesus was sinless, so he never had to ask for forgiveness. Perfect Jesus never needed to pray “forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.”
What I love so much about this is that while Jesus never had to ask for forgiveness, he knew we would. How cool is it that God loved us so much that he sent his Son to forgive our sins AND he taught us to pray and ask for forgiveness. God knew we’d mess up, but he wanted us to pray anyway. It didn’t matter. Yes, God wants us to race toward holiness, obeying him, but understands we will stumble.
Because of Jesus, imperfection doesn’t disqualify us from a relationship with God.
The G-man knew it was a constant struggle for his creation. God beautifully crafted a way in which his frayed-end children could be woven back into a relationship with him. So Jesus didn’t need the “forgive us our debts” prayer, but he knew we did. I’d say that was a solid prediction.
What do you think? Have you ever thought about the Lord’s Prayer that way? Leave a comment