Great Ending... Greatest Beginning

Back in 2014, Big Bang Theory aired an episode named “The Closure Alternative”. Amy attempts to get Sheldon to leave items ‘undone’ so that he will learn that his need for closure doesn’t ruin his life.

So, she erases a tic-tac-toe game just before Sheldon wins. She doesn’t play the last note of the National Anthem or allow the clown to jump out of the jack-in-the-box. She blows out the candles on a birthday cake so he can’t get his wish. The result of this is that Sheldon believes it was a transformative evening. Once she leaves, Sheldon goes back and finishes everything from Amy’s experiment.

I mention this because of the phrase of the Lord’s Prayer, which we recite each week, is probably not the words of Jesus. But, it is biblical, it fits well, and it is true.  

Textual Evidence

To be sure some old manuscripts have what we recite each Sunday. The oldest though do not. To muddy the water a bit more one source has “For yours is the power forever and ever”. Later documents include a triune ending, “For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit forever. Amen (Newman 172-173).” The general rule of thumb is the easier reading is the most likely one. We could expect someone including an ending rather than omitting it.

Canon Law

Whether or not, Jesus spoke these words there was and continues to be enough questions to make it a matter of the margin for versions like the NIV and others. Since about 250 there was a general consensus of most of what we know as the New Testament, including the four Gospels. And, God has, through his sovereign plan to allow what we have as our Bible to be the closed canon or His Word.

Biblical Basis

There is nothing unbiblical about this ending. Did you hear the passage from Chronicles? It is a declaration of God’s greatness, power, glory, victory, majesty, and kingdom. Most scholars see Matthew’s doxology related to this passage, but 1 Timothy 4:18 says, “The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed and bring me safely into his heavenly kingdom. To him be the glory forever and ever. Amen.”

This prayer emphasizes the coming of God’s Kingdom and hints at the glory given to Him in heaven. It was the tradition of Jews to add a doxology to prayers. One commentator sums up my feeling toward this passage when he writes, “It…affords a very appropriate conclusion, and no one need campaign to do away with its use in churches today (Blomberg 121).”

The Truth of the Matter

In Matthew 6:9 Jesus says, “Pray like this.” He does not say, “Pray this”. An old Lutheran quarterly has theologian J.A. Bengel declaring,

“Hallowed be the Name of our God. His kingdom has come; his will is done. He has forgiven us our sins. He has brought our temptation to an end; He has delivered us from the evil one. His is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.”

This ending is a powerful statement that summarizes and declares one’s faith in Jesus and his laying down his life in our place. It acknowledges that God is supreme over any other allegiance which tries to lay claim to our lives. It is also, a statement of faith of who is supreme over heaven and earth.

Working this out

From the beginning of Matthew 6, Jesus has been teaching that His followers would live life differently than others do. They would not be showing off when it comes to doing what the Lord commands. Jesus followers would not fall into a ‘word game’ in which the number, order, or the right inflection. Jesus followers are taught in this prayer and later on, to put aside worry and anxiety because God is a good father who knows our needs.

And the reason all of this is possible is that God isn’t man or woman. God is beyond. His way of seeing the world is impossible for us to fathom.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isa 55:8-9)

Have you ever looked at the back side of a piece of cross-stitch? That’s how we see the world. Paul says, “we see in a mirror dimly” (1Co 13:12). To our eyes, the world is upside down and backward. Right is wrong and wrong is celebrated. Good people lose their lives to horrendous diseases and accidents while evil people seem to go through life without a scratch.

Turn over the cross-stitch and suddenly you have God’s perspective. Things are clean, neat, orderly, and they make sense. God not only made the picture according to His will, but he formed the individual threads and no matter what happens in the lives of those who Love Jesus, things do work out.

May this prayer become a statement of our trust in the work and person of Jesus. May this prayer become a statement of faith in the work of our heavenly Father. And may this prayer allow us to receive the power of the Holy Spirit so we might be Your witnesses to the world around and beyond us. Let us pray