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“Hallowed Be Thy Name”

The Third Commandment in the Gospels

4 min

The first petition of “The Lord’s Prayer” shows us the high regard in which our Lord Jesus held the name of His Father. When the disciples came to Jesus asking Him to teach them to pray, He answered them, “After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name” (Matthew 6:9).

The word hallowed used here is the same word that is usually rendered “sanctified.” The beautiful parallel construction in Greek is easily lost in any English translation. The first three petitions of this prayer, all directed toward our Father in Heaven, are given to us in a distinctive word order. The word order has the verb first for emphasis so that it literally translates: “Let it be sanctified: the name of Thee. Let it be established: the kingdom of Thee. Let it be performed: the will of Thee.” Let’s take a closer look at these statements of affirmation that Christ instructed us to use when we approach our Heavenly Father in prayer. 

Let it be Sanctified: The Name of Thee

The chief goal of the Lord Jesus Christ was to sanctify the name of His Heavenly Father on earth. When Jesus was born, the angels proclaimed “Glory to God in the highest” (Luke 2:14). Jesus connected His Father’s name with the works He was doing as the Messiah when He said, “The works that I do in my Father’s name, they bear witness of me” (John 10:25). 

Let it be Established: The kingdom of Thee

Jesus consistently sought to proclaim the Kingdom of God in His public ministry. As a twelve-year-old boy, when replying to a question from Mary and Joseph, He respectfully replied, “Wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business?” (Luke 2:49). When Jesus began His public ministry, He inaugurated it with the proclamation, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand” (Mark 1:15).

Let it be Performed: The Will of Thee

At His baptism, Jesus, obedient to His Father’s will, emerged from the waters of the Jordan River to the spoken blessing of His Heavenly Father: “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:17). Jesus later testified that He was always conscious of the presence of His Father. “For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me” (John 6:38).

Jesus the Son Honors the Father

Thus, Jesus Christ exemplified throughout His life the daily importance of the three first petitions in the Lord’s Prayer. He constantly sought to sanctify His Father’s name, to establish His Father’s kingdom, and to perform His Father’s will. Jesus summed up His own earthly ministry with these words, “I do always those things that please him” (John 8:29).

The day finally came when Jesus set His face to go to Jerusalem. In that city He would sanctify His Father’s name in the redemption of mankind. When asked what was the purpose for which Jesus died, most Christians would rightly answer, “To redeem fallen man.” This answer is sound and true. But on the other side of that mysterious purpose of redemption, we could also say that the Lord Jesus Christ went to the cross of Calvary “to sanctify His Father’s name.” We see this glorious truth on full display throughout the final week of Jesus’ life on earth.

At the triumphal entry of the Lord Jesus into Jerusalem, the multitudes shouted: “Hosanna to the son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest” (Matthew 21:9, emphasis added). Jesus entered the city, riding on a donkey in the fulfillment of Zechariah’s prophecy. Not proudly astride a magnificent war horse as a conqueror but meekly astride a lowly donkey as the Redeemer, the Lord Jesus Christ came in the name of the Lord.

During the first part of that final week, the Heavenly Father gave verbal approval of Christ’s life. Only the Gospel of John records the astonishing moment that, in the midst of the crowd, Jesus lifted up His voice in the mingled cry of both human dread and divine confidence of trust, “Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour. Father, glorify thy name” (John 12:27–28, emphasis added). At this petition, God the Father answered His Son. “Then came there a voice from heaven, saying, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again.” (John 12:28, emphasis added).

With these declarative words from His Father, Jesus resolutely faced the physical and spiritual agonies of the cross. He opened His High Priestly prayer in John 17 with these words, “Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee” (verse 1). He continued in that same prayer to affirm, “I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do” (verse 4).

Later, in those three dark, terrible hours upon the cross, the wrath of God was poured out against Jesus as He bore the sins of the world. Yet, Jesus rejoiced (see Hebrews 12:2), knowing that He was sanctifying His Father’s name, knowing that “it pleased the LORD to bruise him” (Isaiah 53:10). This sure confidence is why Jesus could triumphantly shout “It is finished.” Because He had sanctified His Father’s name, Jesus could bow His head and say with peaceful confidence, “Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit” (Luke 23:46).

Because the Son and the Father are united in the Godhead (John 10:30), the ultimate way to honor the name of the Father is to honor the name of the Son. Jesus Himself said “He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent him” (John 5:23). It is by the name of Jesus that we must be saved (Acts 4:12). It is by the name of Jesus that we can bring our petitions to the Father (John 14:13). It is the name of Jesus that God has exalted above every name (Philippians 2:9). The Apostle Paul tells us “That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:10–11). 

Have you believed on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ for your salvation? Do you pray to the Father in the name of Jesus? Are you daily exalting the name of the Lord Jesus in thought, word, and deed, above every other name? May God grant us the grace to honor the Son just as the Son honored the Father.

This article is from our Matters of Life & Death teaching series.

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