You are on page 1of 16

Introduction

:
The Lord’s Prayer as a
Biblical Theology for the
True Exodus Community
Church in the Boro, Rob Wilkerson

Introduction

Even before His death, burial, resurrection, and ascension, Jesus had perfectly fulfilled the Old
Covenant, down to the smallest detail. This had the effect of bridging the gap for His people to
now enter the New Covenant Kingdom of God. This Kingdom will eventually be fully realized
one day at the second coming of Jesus. But that is in the future. We are in the “now”. And this
means we are in between the inauguration of the Kingdom of God at the first coming of Jesus,
and its consummation, or full-on arrival date at His second coming.

Put another way, when Jesus came to earth He initiated the “True Exodus” for the true people
of God. It was unlike the first Exodus in that the land of slavery is sin, and the promised land is
heaven. The whole sphere of things is spiritual, with clear connections and ripple effects in the
physical.

However, as Romans 8 clearly teaches, both creation and our bodies – the physical elements
which are affected by the spiritual - are groaning for the day of final redemption. That will be a
day when everything completes the greatest Exodus from sin. Like the pillar of cloud by day
and pillar of fire by night leading Israel out of Egypt through the Read Sea, Jesus Christ has
already led the church, the true Israel, out of spiritual Egypt through the cross and empty tomb.

In a sense, the church is still trailing behind Christ, crossing the Red Sea on the safe, dry ground
of an immutable adoption by the Father. We’ve been born again, out of slavery and into
sonship. The train of saints traveling this path will continue until the last soul has crossed to the
other side. Then the end will come, when Christ comes with His angels to bring the kingdom to
earth and end, once and for all, every trace of sin in His universe.

The “Already-Not Yet” Kingdom of God

Our Exodus will be complete on that day. But until then, Jesus teaches us that we are to
patiently maintain this mindset of “already-not yet.” This state of eschatological limbo
accounts for so much of the confusion and frustration we experience on this earth. The deeper
we feel this, the deeper we know that the kingdom is still future. Even though Jesus already
brought His Kingdom to earth, sin is still in the DNA of everything around us, posing constant
opposition to the Kingdom. We feel it and it pains us to the very core. It is the pain of the “not
yet” Kingdom of God.

Praying the Mission (Intro): A Biblical Theology for the True Exodus Community Page 1
However, Jesus has promised that His Kingdom will prevail, and that not even the gates of hell
itself can stop the expansion into the kingdom of darkness. And that is precisely the life of the
son and daughter of God until Jesus finally consummates the Kingdom. We live as super-
conquerors prevailing with a promise against the sin and corruption in creation, as well as
against the very gates of hell itself. Simply put, we cannot lose. It is impossible that the
Kingdom of Jesus can fail. He wants us then to pray as saints living in between the inauguration
of the Kingdom and its full-on arrival. This is the joy of the “already” Kingdom of God.

“The New Testament still looks forward to a consummation yet to come, but it
regards this event as being guaranteed by the fulfillment that has already
happened in Jesus Christ. As Cullman has put it, in New Testament thought, ‘the
decisive turn of events has already occurred in Christ,’ and ‘the future
expectation is founded in faith in the “already”.’”1

This then is the background to the Lord’s Prayer in Matthew 6:9-13. It is a prayer that was
designed by Jesus Himself, “to encapsulate and celebrate, in the presence of God, the liberation
that had already begun to take place and that had yet to be completed.”2 The Lord’s Prayer
then is a razor’s edge prayer, which intimately and intricately guides us through the already-not
yet.

True Exodus Theology: The First Exodus as the Background for the Lord’s Prayer

A more careful look at the Lord’s Prayer will show us that the liberation or Exodus of Israel from
Egypt indisputably serves as the background for the prayer Jesus teaches His disciples, as well
as the foreshadow of entire Sermon on the Mount, if not the entire opening era of Jesus’
ministry. They may or may not have understood the allusions and made the necessary
connections. Regardless, the death, burial, resurrection and ascension of Jesus as well as the
outpouring of the Holy Spirit means we do understand these things today (Luke 24:27, 44-49).
We should therefore make the necessary connections, because they build the foundation for
properly understanding this prayer the way a Second Temple Jew would have understood it
then, but more importantly the way a True Exodus Community member should perceive it
today.

The overarching comparison between the Exodus and the Lord’s Prayer is very gripping. Jesus
is greater than Moses (Heb. 3), and has led His people out of the greatest Egypt, through the
greatest Red Sea. The people He now addresses in the Sermon on the Mount have come out of
the wilderness testing successfully through Him as their substitute (Heb. 4:15-16). Israel
wandered for 40 years in the Sinai desert. Jesus was led by the Spirit for 40 days in the Israeli

1
Daniel Fuller, The Unity of the Bible: Unfolding God’s Plan for Humanity (Grand Rapids:
Zondervan, 1992), p. 408.
2
N. T Wright, ”The Lord’s Prayer as a Paradigm of Christian Prayer” in Into God’s Presence: Prayer in the
New Testament (Grand Rapids: Eerdman’s, 2001), p. 140.

Praying the Mission (Intro): A Biblical Theology for the True Exodus Community Page 2
wilderness. Israel wandered as a result of their unbelief. They had fallen to temptation to
disbelieve God. But Jesus wandered to fulfill all belief. He conquered temptation and believed
God. They failed. He conquered. And He did it all for them, to bring them into His rest, His
family, and His promised land.

When He comes to choose and teach His disciples now, He comes to them as a people already
delivered, already victorious, already conquering, already faithful, already trusting, because
they are already sons. He has done it for them, on their behalf. The first Exodus initiated the
Old Covenant which put the people in a position to obey and be blessed or to disobey and be
cursed. The True Exodus initiated the New Covenant which put the curse for disobedience on
Jesus Christ, and the blessings for perfect obedience on the saints. They are now eternally
secure in the very same Father-Son relationship enjoyed by Jesus and His heavenly Father, one
which cannot be shaken or broken.

This True Exodus theology is crucial therefore, to a proper understanding the Lord’s Prayer.
Misunderstanding or neglecting it leads saints to pray as servants instead of sons. We will pray
actually wondering whether God will really do what we are asking Him to do. But when we fully
grasp the reality of this True Exodus and the New Covenant it initiated, we pray as sons of God,
fully immersed in His Kingdom, already aligned with His will and purposes, and guaranteed to
receive the inheritance of the Kingdom. This means we pray with certainty and enjoyment, not
wishful wondering and doubting. A True Exodus reality changes the entire atmosphere of the
Lord’s Prayer. As we pray it, we inhale promise and surety, and we exhale a faith that counts us
righteous.

What follows below is an attempt to consider the connections between the first and second
Exodus in the Lord’s Prayer. My thoughts attempt to take into account several key features
alluded to before.

 The first Exodus as the theological and national background for the Sermon on the
Mount and therefore the Lord’s Prayer.

 The second Exodus as the new reality in which theological beliefs and national, as well
as international, hopes actually lie now.

 The True Exodus as the inauguration of the Kingdom which is already here, but not yet
consummated.

 The certainty and enjoyment in which New Covenant people live as a result of the True
Exodus.

 The acknowledgment that while we seek first the kingdom of God we will suffer and sin.

 The understanding and practice of prayer as Jesus taught based on all the above.

Praying the Mission (Intro): A Biblical Theology for the True Exodus Community Page 3
 The wider New Testament teaching on this True Exodus theology, particularly as it
relates to each of the components of the Lord’s Prayer.

What I want to propose about all of this will reshape how we think about the Lord’s Prayer, and
therefore how we pray it. It will become fairly obvious that the prayer reflects a mindset rather
than a formula. It is Jesus’ own systematic theology of the True Exodus. On the one hand this
means that we should arrange our own thinking and praying around His leadership here.

On the other hand, He’s not teaching us to
memorize and mindlessly repeat the wording of
this prayer. He wants the truth and theology
behind it and throughout it to teach us to think
like sons of the Kingdom, which in turn helps us
talk to the Father as sons, which in turn helps us
accomplish the Father’s purposes.

The Lord’s Prayer therefore, is a radical
realignment of theology and prayer, especially
for twenty-first century, westerners whose
prayers always seem to begin with us, our needs,
and our desires. I gladly confess that this truth
has decimated my own prayer life, because it
reflected an “Our Father, in heaven…my
kingdom come and my will be done on earth”
mentality, though all the while I was so utterly convinced that I was all about the kingdom of
God and His will on earth. In response to my confession, the Holy Spirit is rebuilding my prayer
life as member of the True Exodus community of New Covenant people.

May the proposal I offer help us to actually understand what it means to truly seek His Kingdom
and righteousness first. I will begin first by simply giving an overview in table form of the
Exodus era compared to the Sermon on the Mount. As illustrated above, I see it as a ripple
effect of the first Exodus era. Then, I will follow this with a summary look at the closer
relationship to the Lord’s Prayer.

Praying the Mission (Intro): A Biblical Theology for the True Exodus Community Page 4
A Comparative Overview of the Old Covenant and New Covenant Exoduses

Old Covenant New Covenant
Divine protection and Matthew Divine protection and
Exodus 2
preparation for Moses as preparation for Jesus as Ultimate
2:1-10 Compare 2:15 w/
deliverer of Israel Hosea 11:1 Deliverer of Israel
Exodus 1:1-10 The people of Israel exiled Matthew Jesus’ substitutionary
Compare with Genesis
15:13-14 in Egypt for 400 years 2:15, 18 participation in the Egyptian exile
New Covenant gathering of Israel
Old Covenant gathering of
preceded with signs and wonders
Exodus Israel preceded with signs & Matthew
in the healing of the sick,
7-12 wonders in the plagues and 4:23-25
deliverance from demons, and
Red Sea Crossing
preaching of the Kingdom
Exodus Matthew
Old Covenant Prologue New Covenant Epilogue
19:3-6 5:13-16
Exodus Matthew
Ten Commandments Nine Beatitudes
20 5:1-12
Exodus Matthew
Old Covenant Law New Covenant Law
21-22 5
Promise
Jeremiah
Promise I will cause you to walk in my
Deuteronomy 31:31-34
Obey and I will bless you; ways and obey my laws. All the
28 Ezekiel
disobey and I will curse you. curses for disobedience have
36:26-27
already been put on Christ.
Worship of God in the Worship of God in the New
Tabernacle and Temple Temple, the Body of Christ
Final Destination:
Final Destination:
The New Jerusalem
Jerusalem at Mt. Zion
in heaven

Praying the Mission (Intro): A Biblical Theology for the True Exodus Community Page 5
A True Exodus Theology of the Lord’s Prayer
The True Exodus Prayer: “Our Father…”
 The First Exodus Shadow: Exodus 4:22-23; Hosea 11:1

Our Father is the God who rescues Israel precisely because Israel is God’s firstborn son (Hos.
11:1). However, that relationship was largely experienced in terms of a servant relationship
(Isa. 41:8).

Now, the True Exodus community prays with a certainty and enjoyment of this relationship. In
Christ Jesus, our Father has rescued His only Son (Psa. 16:10; Acts 2:27), so that all who come to
Him experience their relationship in terms of a son (John 1:12). Though we stumble and suffer
now, this is no red flag that God has somehow forgotten about us. Instead, our Father will talk
to us and discipline us as sons (Heb. 12:3-11). Today, we live as a people who are unswervingly
convinced that nothing can separate us from the Father’s love (Rom. 8:35-39). “Jesus spoke
with God as a child speaks with his father, simply, intimately, securely, childlike in manner.” 3

Key: Jesus’ prayer teaches us that our very approach to communicating with God begins
with the unalterable assurance of our eternally unchanging relationship to God as His
favored, beloved, and adopted sons and daughters.

The True Exodus Prayer: “…Who is in heaven…”
 The First Exodus Shadow: Isaiah 63:10 – 64:12

Recalling the “days of old” when Moses and Israel were wandering in the wilderness, the
prophet Isaiah writes that these were days of rebellion and grieving the Holy Spirit. All along it
was He, the Holy Spirit, who had led them, to make a glorious name for the Lord (63:10-14).
Now, once again, Israel finds themselves wandering in a new wilderness, via their exile in
Assyria and Babylon. And the prophet Isaiah wonders when God will “Look down from heaven,
from your holy and beautiful habitation” (63:15), to lead His people once again, just as He did in
the days of old. It is in the context of exile and new exodus that the prophet addresses God as,
“our Father” (63:16), whom he prays will “rend the heavens and come down” (64:1), in order
that they would be released from their sins and saved (64:5-6), and that “the nations might
tremble at your presence!” (64:2). In so doing, God’s name will be vindicated or hallowed.

Now, the True Exodus community prays with a certainty and enjoyment that “our Father who is
in heaven” has sent His Son Jesus Christ to bring about the final exodus from the wilderness of
sin , so that His people, the church, may be the place where He makes a glorious name for
Himself, and thereby makes the nations tremble at His presence. This comes from a heavenly
3
Joachim Jeremias, The Lord’s Prayer, p. 34. Digital edition:
http://www.peacechurchrochester.org/Adult20 Confirmation/The%20Lords%20Prayer%20-%20Jeremias.pdf.

Praying the Mission (Intro): A Biblical Theology for the True Exodus Community Page 6
wisdom which is not of this age (1 Cor. 2:6-9, quoting Isa. 64:4), but is almost incomprehensible
as it unfolds the “bigger picture” of the plan of God for the people of God (Eph. 3). And it will
continue to be unfolded as the gospel of the kingdom of heaven is proclaimed to the whole
world as a testimony to the nations (Matt. 24:14).

Though we suffer and stumble now, God’s mission from heaven in the person and work of Jesus
Christ will continue to go forth unimpeded so that all the nations of the earth will ultimately
find their rest in Him (Matt. 13:31-32). Until that final day comes, we live now as a people
committed to the heavenly mission, “that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be
proclaimed to all nations…” (Luke 24:47).

 Key: Jesus’ prayer teaches us to look to heaven as His throne from where Jesus rules at
the right hand of the Father. It is a throne where salvation and forgiveness from sins flows
freely to the nations. And His message is also His mission.

The True Exodus Prayer: “…hallowed be your name…”
 The First Exodus Shadow: Exodus 3:13-15; 32:11-14

The revelation of the name of YHWH to Moses was the spearhead leading Moses to deliver
Israel from Egypt (Exod. 3:13-15) and later to forgive Israel’s sins with the golden calf (Exod.
32:11-14). God wanted Israel to learn that His reputation among the nations of the earth was
inseparably linked with them as His people, and this necessarily included the final outcome of
His fulfilled promises to them. He was a God who wished death to Himself if He did not fulfill
His covenant to them (Gen. 15:9-10, 17-21). As a God who could not lie, the fulfillment of this
promise meant not only deliverance from Egypt and into a promised land, but also from sin and
rebellion and into a heavenly family (Heb. 6:13-20). It is in the midst of the first exodus that
YHWH showed His salvation to be accomplished in two primary ways: first, by mighty miracles,
signs and wonders (Exod. 3:20; 4:1-9), not the least of which included the ten plagues of
judgment on Egypt (Exod. 7-12), and the parting of the Red Sea to accomplish Israel’s escape
(Exod. 14), the leading of Israel by wonders in the day and night skies (Exod. 13:21-22), and the
miraculous provisions for His people in the wilderness (Exod. 15:22-27; 16; 17:1-7); and, second
by gathering His new nation of people into the promised land.

Now, the True Exodus community prays with a certainty and enjoyment of this fulfillment of
God’s reputation (Heb. 6:19-20; 9:15). In fulfillment of the two primary arms of salvation in the
first exodus, Jesus began His ministry of the True Exodus with miracles, signs and wonders,
including healing, deliverance from demons, raising the dead, and miraculous provisions (Matt.
15:32-38; Mark 5:30-44). But the greatest miracle paralleled the Red Sea and completed the
salvation of His people from sin, and vindicated His deity, and this was Jesus’ resurrection from
the dead. Afterward, He gathered His True Covenant community from all over the world into a
people called the church. Thus, it was with these same two arms of salvation that the early
church began and continued Jesus’ mission with the same understanding and approach (Acts

Praying the Mission (Intro): A Biblical Theology for the True Exodus Community Page 7
4:23-31; 5:12-16; 15:12-17). And though we stumble now, and suffer as did Jesus and His first
disciples, He has already guaranteed our ultimate deliverance because His reputation is
inseparable from it. People from every people group and language will be gathered into the
church (Rev. 5:9-10). Therefore, we pray asking God to continue to vindicate Himself among
the nations in miracles, signs and wonders through us, and especially in the bold preaching of
the kingdom of God in the gospel. As True Exodus people, we live as those who treat the name
of YHWH manifested in Jesus Christ with the highest honor above anything else on the planet (1
Pet. 1:14-21).

 Key: Jesus’ prayer teaches us to root our hearts, minds, action and mission in the “I AM”,
Whose covenant Name makes and keep a promise to us, vindicating that name and promise
among the nations through miracles, signs, wonders, and gospel-preaching. In praying like
this, for this, and toward this, we are thereby blessing and sanctifying His character and
reputation among the nations of the earth in our individual and corporate lives.

The True Exodus Prayer: “…Your kingdom come…”
 The First Exodus Shadow: Exodus 7-14

The showdown between Moses and Pharaoh is the background to the showdown between God
and Satan. The greater story is about which one is stronger. This necessarily means war. War
is always fought in a series of battles. And the battles always claim casualties. Only the battles
prior to the Exodus did not. While the war-victory had already been declared by God (Exod.
3:20), through the plagues there were ten battles waged against the Kingdom of Pharaoh (Exod.
7-11), and the various gods he worshiped. They were simply a foreshadow of the greater
battles which would be fought by the saints, all in ear-shot of the war-victory cry (Revelation 4-
19). The complete and utter rescue of every single Israelite from Egypt was a foreshadow of
the complete and utter victory of every single saint in heaven.

Now, the True Exodus community prays with a certainty and enjoyment of the triumph already
obtained at the cross and empty tomb. Though we suffer and stumble now, His kingdom
cannot not come. Now we live as a people who exercise the reign and rule of God with the
power, authority, and gospel of King Jesus Christ (Col. 1:19-20; 1 Cor. 15:25). The universal
reign of King Jesus on planet earth as prophesied in Isaiah 52:7-10 (against the backdrop of the
Exodus), is fulfilled in the gospel of the kingdom (Rom. 10:14-20). In and through that message
of the gospel of the kingdom, everything in heaven or earth, visible or invisible – including ad
especially death - is reconciled to the reign of King Jesus (Eph. 1:19-23; Col. 1:15-20; 1 Cor.
15:24-26). They are reconciled both through the delegated and exercised control of the saints
or the church (Matt. 16:18-29; 18:18-20), and through the King Himself (1 Cor. 15:25; Rev.
19:11-20:15).

Praying the Mission (Intro): A Biblical Theology for the True Exodus Community Page 8
 Key: Jesus teaches us to pray and therefore boldly act in a way that realizes the “already”
presence of the Kingdom, while also asking Him to consummate it sooner, in realization of
the “not yet” presence of the Kingdom. This is why we pray, “Maranatha!” or “Come quickly,
Lord Jesus!” (Rev. 22:20).

The True Exodus Prayer: “…Your will be done…”
 The First Exodus Shadow: Exodus 19 ff.

The giving of the Law at Mt. Sinai was the inauguration of connecting heaven with earth.
Moses mediated between both spheres so that laws and instructions in heaven could be
delivered to and enacted upon earth. This looked forward to the Tabernacle, and then later the
Temple, which was the consummate Old Covenant connection between heaven and earth, with
priests mediating God’s will. They exercised this mediation through offering sacrifices on behalf
of the people of Israel (Lev. 4:20, 26, 31; Heb. 8:4), interceding on their behalf to God (Lev.
9:22-24; Num. 6:22-27), inquiring of God on their behalf (Exod. 28:30), as well as through
teaching the Law of God (Deut. 24:8; 33:10; 2 Chron. 35:3; Neh. 8:7).

Now, the True Exodus community prays with a certainty and enjoyment that in Jesus Christ,
God and man united as a mediator and connected heaven and earth (Heb. 7:26-27; 9:11-15).
The Father has now made the Son the only mediator between God and man (1 Tim. 2:5). We
pray to the Father just like Jesus did, “not my will but yours be done” (Luke 22:42). What is
more, the Spirit now mediates the will of God on earth through the church and the Word (John
14:26; 15:26; 16:7-15). And even though we stumble and suffer, we are actually already caught
up in His will and embraced by His loving plan (Rom. 8:28-30; Eph. 1:3-14).

 Key: Jesus’ prayer teaches us to ask for a fresh realization of His will and purposes so
that we can participate more purposefully and productively.

The True Exodus Prayer: “…on earth as it is in heaven.”
 The First Exodus Shadow: Exodus 36-40

The first Exodus era experienced the connection of heaven and earth through the tabernacle in
the wilderness, and later through the temple in Jerusalem. In both constructions, God
manifested His presence to them in the “shekinah” glory cloud, which descended from heaven.
It covered the entire tabernacle in the wilderness (Exod. 40:34-38), and penetrated the entire
interior of the temple (1 Kings 8:10-11). This “shekinah” glory was their only source of directive
to move in the wilderness (Exod. 40:36-37), and their only measure of God’s favor in the
kingdom (Ezek. 8-11). In the wilderness, when the glory cloud was lifted from the tabernacle, it
was time to follow the cloud and move. In the kingdom, when the glory cloud was lifted from
the temple, it was a sign of God’s coming judgment on Israel.

Praying the Mission (Intro): A Biblical Theology for the True Exodus Community Page 9
Now, as a True Exodus community, earth and heaven have been united in the person and
ministry of Jesus Christ. He Himself is the connection between heaven and earth. But His first
coming only inaugurated and initiated that connection. Today His glory remains with us and
leads us to move throughout the nations (Matt. 28:18-20; Mark 16:15; Luke 24:47; Acts 1:8),
proclaiming a coming judgment on the world from which they can be protected in the
propitiation of Christ (Acts 17:30-31; Romans 2:4-11, 16). Day by day we draw closer to that
final day when both heaven and earth will be connected forever (Rev. 21). But until that day
comes, the King accomplishes the connecting work of heaven and earth through His church
(Eph. 1:20-23; Col. 1:15-20). We are now God’s building (1 Cor. 3:9). The church is His temple
(1 Cor. 3:16-17), built with living stones (1 Pet. 2:4-5; Eph. 2:19-22), where God now dwells by
His Spirit (Eph. 2:22).

 Key: Jesus’ prayer teaches the church to more fully realize that right now their presence
is the connection of heaven and earth. Therefore, they pray because they need wisdom and
insight to make that connection everywhere they go (Eph. 1:17-23; Col. 1:9-13), through their
primary mission of making disciples of all nations (Matt. 28:18-20).

The True Exodus Prayer: “Give us today our daily bread…”
 The First Exodus Shadow: Exodus 16

Daily bread immediately connects us back to the manna and quail in the wilderness (Exod. 16).
The servant-nation grumbled in disbelief, so soon after the Red Sea miracle. But God graciously
answered His people corporately with heavenly bread from His own hand. Hundreds of years
later, their descendants would do the same thing yet again. Only the second time, they asked
Jesus for a sign after their bellies were filled with a miraculous supply of food, enough to feed
five thousand men, from only five loaves of bread and two fish (John 6). The irony then is that
God had once again given miraculously from His very own hand His very own Son, Who was the
epitome of any and every need both physically, and especially spiritually. When the greatest
miracle in history from the very hand of God is walking on earth, it is a sinful and spiritual
adulterous generation who asks for a sign from God in order to believe Him (Matt. 12:39).

Now, the True Exodus community prays with a certainty and enjoyment that Jesus Christ
Himself is our true bread of life (John 6:35). As such, our daily needs are therefore spiritual, yet
with ripple effects into the physical so that even those lesser needs are as certain to be met as
the greater. Manna was not needed in Egypt (where they ate leftover meat parts, Exod. 16:3)
nor in the Promised Land (where they ate milk and honey, Exod. 33:3). “Our daily bread” is the
food of the “already-not yet”, pointing us to the truth that we are already in the True Exodus
now, having been delivered from spiritual Egypt, even though not yet living in the promised
land of heaven. This is why we need “daily bread” until we come to the true promised land in
heaven. And even though we stumble and suffer, Jesus is our Shepherd and we will not lack
anything (Psa. 23:1). God did not hold back His Son, and He will not therefore hold back

Praying the Mission (Intro): A Biblical Theology for the True Exodus Community Page 10
anything else we need (Rom. 8:32). Our God will supply all our needs through His riches in
glory by Christ Jesus (Phil. 4:19).

Key: Jesus’ prayer forces us to come to grips with the “already-not yet” so that we receive
from His hand what we need day by day, without any unnecessary grumbling or doubt (Matt.
6:19-21, 25-34). We can do this because He has gone before us and victoriously endured and
conquered the spiritual temptation connected to physical appetite (Matt. 4:1-4; Heb. 4:15).
So He offers Himself now as the true bread we truly need (John 6:32-33).

The True Exodus Prayer: “…and forgive us our sins as we forgive…”
 The First Exodus Shadow: Leviticus 25:38, 42, 55

The first Exodus era initiated the year of Jubilee. Every fifty years, on the Day of Atonement,
Israel would sound the trumpet of celebration, announcing a divine “reset.” Those who had
sold property or children would have them liberated and returned, and all debts would be
forgiven (Lev. 25:8-55). It was intended to remind Israel to look back on their enslavement in
Egypt and remember God’s provision of rescue and deliverance as a motivation to reset
everything back to the beginning as it was when God first rescued Israel. They were once slaves
of Pharaoh, but God had set them free and reset everything aright. Now, every fifty years, they
were to follow His example and do the same for one another (Lev. 25:38, 42, 55).

As a True Exodus community now, we pray with a certainty and enjoyment that looks back on
our slavery to sin, recalling with celebration that we were set free from sin, joyously resetting
every relationship and wrong to the way it was when we were first rescued by King Jesus. He
Himself began His ministry with this very proclamation of Jubilee (Luke 4:16-21). As a result,
True Exodus people will live as ambassadors of Jubilee, seeking and saving the lost (Luke 19:10),
with one clear message of liberty: “Be reconciled to God!” (2 Cor. 5:18-6:3). Those who have
been rescued from slavery will live as those rescuing others from slavery (Matt. 18:21-33). And
even though we will stumble and suffer, we receive our forgiveness from God (1 John 1:9) and
freely offer it to others (Luke 7:36-49; Matt. 18:21-35). Conversely, it is the epitome of
wickedness to refuse forgiveness for others in light of what God has forgiven us (Matt. 18:21-
35; cf. Matt. 6:14-15; Mark 11:25-26; Luke 6:37; 17:1-4). Forgiveness of sins therefore, is the
primary means through which the kingdom of God is brought from heaven to earth (Matt.
18:18-35; John 20:23).

Key: Jesus’ prayer teaches us that the year of Jubilee is now an every-moment reality.

Praying the Mission (Intro): A Biblical Theology for the True Exodus Community Page 11
The True Exodus Prayer: “Lead us not into temptation…”
 The First Exodus Shadow: Exodus 17:7; Deuteronomy 6:16

The first Exodus led the people in the wilderness to put God to the test by choosing not to
believe Him (Num. 13:25-29; 1 Cor. 10:9-11). They did this by complaining which was
tantamount to challenging God to continue to produce proofs of His presence with them,
despite the Red Sea event (and the water from the rock, and the manna and quail, ad nauseum)
which ought to have answered all doubts once and for all. Nevertheless, they lived as people
condemned to die both in and for their unbelief, never to enter God’s rest (Heb. 4:7-13).

The True Exodus community today prays with a certainty and enjoyment that Jesus Christ has
believed God once and for all, and that He is with us always to the end of the age. Though we
stumble and suffer, we choose not to live as those without faith in the presence of a God who is
nearer to us than our breath (1 Cor. 10:9). We reject all complaining and arguing so that we
may become a bold and bright witness for God in the world (Phil. 2:14-15). Therefore, we
constantly connect the handling of temptation with prayer for success, just like Jesus did (Luke
22:31, 32, 46).

 Key: Jesus’ prayer teaches us that as True Exodus people no temptation has overtaken us
which He has not also already provided a way of escape (1 Cor. 10:13). We must succeed
where our ancestors failed.

The True Exodus Prayer: “…but deliver us from [the] evil [one].”
 The First Exodus Shadow:

In the first Exodus, “Let My people go!” was the demand of God through Moses made to
Pharaoh. “Deliver us from Pharaoh!” was the cry of Israel heard by God. The Pharaoh of the
Exodus was the one who arose not knowing Joseph or his part in redemptive history. As a
result, he behaved wickedly toward the people of God. The real perpetrator of course, was not
flesh and blood (Eph. 6:12), but “the evil one,” or Satan, who seeks constantly to kill and
destroy (John 10:10). He is a murderer from the beginning (John 8:44), and his failed efforts to
kill Moses (Exod. 1:8-2:10) only foreshadowed his failed efforts to kill Jesus (Matt. 2:13-18).

The True Exodus community today prays with certainty and enjoyment that Jesus has disarmed
Satan and his demons, putting them to open shame by triumphing over them (Col. 2:15),
thereby destroying his works (1 John 3:8). Though we stumble and suffer, we know that Satan’s
time is short (Rev. 12:12), and that a hell has already been prepared for he and his angels (Matt.
25:41). Until that day comes, Jesus Himself prays for us, “Protect them from the evil one” (John
17:15).

Praying the Mission (Intro): A Biblical Theology for the True Exodus Community Page 12
Key: Jesus’ prayer teaches us that as True Exodus people, since we have already won the
war, we pray to win the battles now. Those battles are chiefly waged now against idolatry in
the fellowship of the saints (1 Cor. 10:1-22).

The True Exodus Prayer: “For yours is kingdom and the power and the glory
forever and ever. Amen.”
 The First Exodus Shadow: 1 Chronicles 29

The pinnacle of Israel’s history is found in the temple of Solomon, for it represented the
completion and crown of YHWH’s establishment of a kingdom on earth.4 When the shekinah
glory cloud of God descended into the temple, it represented the penultimate completion of
God’s promises to Abraham. Israel was now in their promised land, living peacefully under the
presence of God Almighty Himself, Who once dwelled in a tabernacle in the wilderness, but
now dwelt in a magnificent and permanent temple. It was at David’s dedication of the plans
and offerings for the temple that he gathered the people of Israel and prayed,

“Blessed are you, O Lord, our God of Israel our father, forever and ever. Yours, O
Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the
majesty, for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is yours. Yours is the
kingdom, O Lord, and you are exalted as head above all. Both riches and honor
come from you, and you rule over all. In your hand are power and might, and in
your hand it is to make great and to give strength to all. And now we thank you,
our God, and praise your glorious name” (vv. 10-13).

The completion of the temple established God’s capital of the world in Jerusalem, on Mount
Zion (Psa. 48:1-2; 74:2; 125:1; 133; Isa. 24:23), from where He would reign and rule through His
people, Israel, as a light to the nations (Isa. 49:6; 60:3)

While David was not allowed by YHWH to build the temple, God promised that his dynasty as
king would last forever. This promise was fulfilled in Jesus Christ, King of kings, who was born
of the virgin Mary, a direct descendant of the line of David (Matt. 1:2-16). And since the
promise of an everlasting throne came through David to Jesus Christ, so also the promise of an
everlasting kingdom would come through Mount Zion to its penultimate fulfillment in the
church, consummating in its ultimate fulfillment in the New Jerusalem, or the new heavens and
earth. The benediction of the Lord’s Prayer becomes a restatement of the “already / not-yet”
kingdom of God which has already come to earth in and through the church, but is not yet
fulfilled in and through its final form in heaven. For now, the church represents the throne and
place of God’s rule over His earth (Matt. 16: 18-29; 18:18-20; Eph. 1:21-23; Col. 1:16-20).

4
Walter C. Kaiser, Jr. The Promise-Plan of God: A Biblical Theology of the Old and New Testaments (Grand
Rapids: Zondervan, 2008), p. 118.

Praying the Mission (Intro): A Biblical Theology for the True Exodus Community Page 13
Key: Jesus’ prayer teaches us that as True Exodus people, His kingdom, power and glory
are the only assurances against the abuses of all other earthly kingdoms, powers, and glories.
Praying the benediction of the Lord’s Prayer reminds us of His throne (the kingdom), His
dominion (the power), and His priorities (the glory), all of which guide and guard the church
in her mission today.

Conclusion

I am indebted to N. T. Wright for the seed thought fleshed out in this introduction to the series I
am preaching on the Lord’s Prayer entitled “Praying the Mission.”5 Equal gratitude goes also to
Brant Pitre for his invaluable contribution to this theological matrix regarding the Lord’s
Prayer.6 The mission is His kingdom and His will, just the same as it was for Jesus while
ministering on earth. We are therefore united in every possible way with the King Himself,
except of course, consummately when we will see Him face to face (1 John 3:2). This unity with
the King Himself includes our mission. His mission was to inaugurate the Kingdom with the
gospel message. Our mission is to continue His mission and expand the Kingdom with the same
gospel message. The Lord’s Prayer then, gives the True Exodus community a model, much like
Israel’s Ten Commandments, useful for focusing our communication with the Father. It is a
“Model Prayer” then offering us a biblical theology of the new Exodus mission. As Wright has
put it,

“The prayer is given by Jesus to constitute his followers as the true Exodus
people. They are to succeed, not least by prayer, where the original wilderness
generation failed. The prayer moves from the disciples’ relation to God, through
the honoring of God’s name and the doing of his will, to provisions for bodily
needs and dealing with evil. Furthermore, the prayer has something of the same
shape – and, within the new eschatological moment, something of the same role
– as the Decalogue within the Exodus narrative. Thus the Lord’s Prayer may be
seen as being to the church as the Ten Commandments were to Israel: not just
something to do, a comparatively arbitrary rule of life, but the heart of the new
covenant charter.

5
Of the forty-plus resources consulted for even a hint of the redemptive-historical, biblical-theological
background to the Sermon on the Mount and the Lord’s Prayer, Wright’s chapter was one of only two. It is
viewable online at http://www.ntwrightpage.com/Wright_Christian_Prayer.htm. (Other works which hint at a
New Exodus theme include The Gospel of Matthew: A Commentary on the Greek Text by John Nolland [NIGTC
Series] pp. 29 ff.; and ??). It is both surprising and therefore confusing that so many commentators, authors,
scholars, theologians and pastors have seemingly altogether missed the very historical connection which gives
redemptive-historical meaning to the most important prayer we can ever pray. I pray my introduction may be a
different step in the right direction.
6
Brant Pitre, “The Lord’s Prayer and the New Exodus” in Letter & Spirit 2 (2006): 69-96. Viewable online
at http://www.scotthahn.com/download/attachment/2525.

Praying the Mission (Intro): A Biblical Theology for the True Exodus Community Page 14
“The early petitions of the prayer, with their focus on God’s name, God’s
kingdom, and God’s will, can all be used in this context as the framework for
focusing in one’s private prayer on God himself, and for claiming already in the
present…the blessings of the future that are already secured in Christ…The
individual Christian is called to be a man, woman, or child of prayer as a New
Exodus person.”7

Finally, a look at the ministry of King Jesus for us right now provides even more certainty and
enjoyment in our prayer life. If it is true that Jesus’ constant task at the right hand of the Father
in heaven is to intercede for this True Exodus community (Rom. 8:34; Heb. 7:25), and if it is true
that the Spirit of Jesus intercedes for us by essentially translating our prayers to the Father
(making them what they need to be in order that the Father will answer them, Rom. 8:26-27),
then an overwhelmingly staggering and breathtaking truth unfolds itself to us.

“The Lord’s prayer…by uniting Jesus’ people with their Lord in the prayer that
formed the inner core of his own life, brings about the situation where those
who pray it are even now, whether they realize it or not, ‘seated in the heavenly
places in Christ Jesus’” (Eph. 2:6; Col. 3:1,3).8

Think of it! While praying the way Jesus taught us to pray, we are by faith rapturously,
gloriously, and incomprehensibly caught up in the heavenly places with Christ Jesus Himself!
We can’t see it when it happens, but this unseen reality is as authentic as anything else we can
see. This is the only theological explanation for the myriad of first-hand accounts we have of
the prayer lives of people we admire so much.

If you’re like me, perhaps you’ve read and profited heavily from so many godly men and
women whose lives were built on incredible prayer. Men like George Müller,9 Rees Howells,10
Hudson Taylor,11 E. M. Bounds,12 Andrew Murray13 and others would all tell us, if they were

7
Wright, p. 147, 151, respectively.
8
Ibid, p. 151.
9
Read Arthur T. Pierson’s book, George Mueller of Bristol: And His Witness to a Prayer-Hearing God (Old
Tappan: Fleming H. Revell Company, 1899). Available in PDF online at http://www.bsmi.org/download/mueller/
GeorgeMuellerOfBristol.pdf.
10
Norman Grubb’s most famous book, Rees Howells: Intercessor is perhaps one of the greatest classics on
prayer ever written. It is available through Amazon online at http://www.amazon.com/Rees-Howells-Intercessor-
Norman-Grubb/dp/0875081886/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1287088509&sr=8-1.
11
A tremendous and invaluable resource by Dr. and Mrs. Howard Taylor, Hudson Taylor in Early Years, is
available digitally online at http://www.worldinvisible.com/library/hudsontaylor/hudsontaylorv1/
hudsontaylorv1tc.htm.
12
Edward M. Bounds is perhaps the most voluminous author on the subject of prayer. A brief biographical
sketch along with digital versions of his works are available online at http://www.ccel.org/ccel/bounds.

Praying the Mission (Intro): A Biblical Theology for the True Exodus Community Page 15
here today, “Look to Jesus Christ, your True Exodus Deliverer, in order to learn how to pray!
Then, when you’ve mastered His prayer, come back and we’ll give you the crumbs we’ve
managed to collect along the way!” May we heed their counsel and commune with their God,
with the Father, and with Jesus Christ, our supreme teacher on prayer.

13
Andrew Murray’s most famous work is perhaps the one entitled With Christ in the School of Prayer.
That book more than any other impacted me personally, in my high school and college days, with regard to prayer.
A brief bio and digital versions of his works are available online at http://www.ccel.org/ccel/murray.

Praying the Mission (Intro): A Biblical Theology for the True Exodus Community Page 16