Intimacy is often overrated. To know yourself truly is humbling because we have a great deal to be humble about. Our strengths are not as many nor as strong as they should be. But intimacy with God is a very satisfying experience. Our Creator and our God exceeds our expectations in all that he is and all that he does. He is truly great!
Jesus, in the “Lord’s prayer” of Luke 11:2-4, addresses God as “Father” because of his intimate knowledge of him. Luke referenced Jesus’ statement to that intimacy in chapter 10:22. “All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows who the Son is except the Father, or who the Father is except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.” That deep mutual knowledge that they share is the context of Jesus’ prayer life and the reality behind this special prayer of our Lord. From that flows a zeal for the true knowledge of God to be spread among men. Reverence should be the consequence of true knowledge. Hence Jesus teaches us to pray “Hallowed be your name.” It is a prayer that desires all ignorance and irreverence for God to be replaced by a zealous embrace of all that He is and all that he does.
Jesus’ purpose is to make his Father known as he knows him. His Father is both just and merciful. God is holy and yet full of grace. The Sovereign is the Creator of all, exalted high above the distant orbs of starry light and yet the light by which men see genuine meekness and kindness. This is the one that Jesus calls “Father.”
In fact, Jesus not only prays that the name of God would be truly known and loved, but the whole animating impulse of his life found its focus in that quest. It was the reason that he came. One recalls from the Biblical story of the Exodus (Numbers 14) how the whining and rebellion of the Israelites led to their threatened extinction. Moses interceded with God, reminding him that his name would be held in contempt. The reason would be because he began something he was not able to finish. He took a people from Egypt whom he could not bring into the promised land.
You can see that the prayer for God’s name to be hallowed is not simply about false swearing or cursing. It is really about acknowledging that God is able to do all that he sets out to do! None of his promises will ever fall to the ground or fail to come to full fruition. When God said to Abraham that all the nations would be blessed through him, he committed himself to the fulfillment of that promise. When God said to his “Son” in Psalm 2, “Ask of me and I will make the nations your inheritance” he committed all of his honor and reputation to that end.
When one sees the injustice and evil in this world, one is tempted to ask if God is able to keep his promises. To confidently assert that he will fulfill them requires that we look to the life and death of Jesus himself. The promises all require a real solution to the problem of evil. It is not enough that people merely know about God, or even that they acknowledge he is just and good. To truly fulfill the promises requires that the nations love and revere the holy name of God. That they rejoice in his rule and delight in his law.
So Jesus’ whole purpose is to transform men through his sacrificial death. In justly offering his obedience for our disobedience he reconciles us to God. But his purpose is greater than that. Having reconciled us, he is now able to transform us so that we can truly pray with him “Father, Hallowed be your name!” That prayer that is now confidently asserted – his name will be honored and revered, first in our own lives and also in the lives of multitudes of others. Jesus prayed for it and he has done all that it takes. You can count on his success!
Roger G. Collins, Grace Presbyterian Church, Byram; *English Standard Version. (2001). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society. Exported from Logos Bible Software; Originally published in the October 2014 Byram Banner, Byram Mississippi.