Thy Will Be Done – Matthew 6:10

Thy will be doneMatthew6:10

For Anne-Marie Mackin

Martin Luther was in a tavern enjoying a drink of beer once and someone asked him, Doctor Luther, shouldn’t you be working on divine things? Why are you sitting drinking beer when there are dying souls to be won? Luther’s response was, “The Word of God is out there. God is doing his will. So I can have my beer.” Of course Luther worked harder than most Christians ever have, single handedly translating the Bible into German and inventing Modern German in the process. Yet he knew the secret of believing God’s will is happening, as countless people are praying every moment of every day, and resting in that faith.

The word we translate “be done” in our versions of the Lord’s Prayer is genēthētō. This is a third person singular aorist passive imperative in form, of the deponent verb ginomai, which is grammarian’s language for saying that the word genēthētō should be translated ‘may it happen’, ‘let it happen’, with the certainty that it shall. This is how it is translated in the BFBS Polish Bible, the Old and New Translations of the Afrikaans Bible, the Latin Vulgate, and Luther’s German Bible.

There is a difference between saying “may your will be done” and “may your will happen”. The first one may imply some doing on our part, to the modern reader at least; the second asks that God’s will simply – happen. Not that we do anything – “of myself I can do nothing” – but that it should happen. The only work the Lord’s Prayer implies that we must do, is to forgive others. It does not ask that God should bless our quiet times, or our evangelistic activities, or our worship. It just says, “Let your will happen”. Amen.

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