Alms, Prayer, & Fasting 6:1-18
Our Father in Heaven v. 9 (Part 2)
Jesus’ reference to God as Father would not have surprised his audience. In the Jewish scriptures God had claimed “Israel as his son…” (Ex. 4:22) and had blessed and chastened him time and again through out a tumultuous history. The use of the term was common in Jewish prayers, and even though these prayers and liturgies were usually expressed in the synagogues, the everyday Israelite had a sense that a Heavenly Father overshadowed his people with protective wings.
“In Heaven” might just as easily be read as “perfect”. In an imperfect world there was hope on the part of some in Israel that an unblemished moral order and place of rest existed beyond the grave. This was a place free of sorrow, sickness, and alienation. It was a place of perfection, a place where God dwelt.
“Hallowed” meant “let your name be held holy”, or, “glorify your name”. Holy, of course, referred to that which in its perfection was apart or separate from a fallen world. It suggest transcendence, awe, respectful fear, and even a touch of dread. God is not to be approached casually. He is the Creator of heaven and earth. He has the keys of life and death. He builds and tears down by a word from his mouth. When approaching him in prayer we are to do so with humility and caution. Our lives are in his hands.