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Jesus Had a Secret

It’s buried right there in plain sight. Right in the middle of the Christian pledge of allegiance – the Lord’s Prayer.

And, when he said it, Jesus must have smirked. After all, he had a secret.

The Sermon on the Mount is Jesus’ most lengthy teaching explaining something unique about the Christian life. This extended discourse is Jesus’ admonition that God’s best for his children is built on work God has already accomplished through Jesus. In fact, Jesus so clearly establishes himself as the one true mediator between God and humanity, he then outlines for us how we might pray to the Father now that we have access to Him eternally.

Six simple statements.

One legendary prayer.

And, one overlooked line.

Jesus prays, “forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.” 

It was a big command. One Jesus’s disciples would take seriously. For instance, Paul would challenge his readers to “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:31-32)

Forgiveness might be the hardest part of being a Christian. Forgiving those who sin against us. Forgiving those who curse instead of bless. Forgiving those who lie and slander our name. Forgiving those who illustrate with their actions just how broken the world remains.

It hurts.

Yet, we are commanded to forgive those who sin against us.

It’s not optional. But, seems impossible

Yet, I think Jesus prays the impossible prayer he was smirking. A wry smile that suggested he knew something we didn’t. After all, Jesus had a secret.

Jesus knew that the same mouth that uttered this impossible command would later say “this is my blood of the new covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.”

Jesus knew that the forgiveness of sins does not make its way to us straight from the fatherhood of God, but rather from the fatherhood of God straight through his son. Jesus gets the glory even from his own prayer.

Jesus not only speaks the Lord’s Prayer, but he establishes its truths and holds it up through his own work – there wouldn’t be a Lord’s Prayer without Jesus.

Liberalism reads this prayer and demands that Christianity is about fatherhood of God, brotherhood of man, and love your neighbor.

But it’s not – Christianity is always about the cross.

We aren’t pleading for forgiveness, we are claiming it, through repentance, from Jesus’ cross.

We say to Jesus, “Look at my sin and give me what I don’t deserve.”

Jesus demanded something that seems impossible, but he always knew he was the King of possibility.

He smirked when he said it because he knew forgiveness was his idea.


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Chris Lawson

Founder of, husband to Merri, father to Adam, Ellie, and Zachary, and executive pastor @reynoldachurch. Lives to make Jesus famous. He enjoys watching the Atlanta Braves and UNC basketball, as well as demeaning and insulting whatever sports teams you root for. He knows a disturbing amount about television and movies.

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