Well, the weather is starting to get colder now, so what could be better than spending some time basking under a warm monitor while reading The Doctor’s Office? So let’s grab a steaming mug of your favorite cold weather beverage and spend a few minutes checking out a few of your questions…
Could you talk a little about Matthew 6:9-13 and the Lord's Prayer?
Well, in the four verses just before Matthew 6:9, Jesus spoke about some of the common mistakes that people make when praying to God. In the following verses, He gives us a kind of pattern to follow whenever we approach God- a pattern which has come to be known as “The Lord’s Prayer”…
“This, then, is how you should pray: ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name…” (Matthew 6:9 NIV)
We can learn two important things from this short statement. First, prayer should be addressed to God the Father (“Our Father…”). The second thing to remember is that honor, praise, admiration, worship, and compliments to God should come first in prayer (“hallowed [or honored] be your name…”).
It’s unfortunate but many people often approach God with a “laundry list” of prayer requests but never consider giving Him the honor and recognition He deserves first. Hey, if one of your friends started every conversation with you by saying, “I want this” or “I want that,” how do you think you would feel? The sad truth is that many people do this very same thing with God. What Jesus teaches us in the Lord’s Prayer is that we should first show God the respect that He deserves before we ask Him for anything.
“…your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10 NIV)
Next, we should acknowledge that God’s ways are best (“your kingdom come, your will be done”) and express our desire to see God’s will done here on earth. So, what is God’s will? Well, the Bible tells us that it’s part of God’s will that everyone should turn back from their evil ways (1 Peter 3:9). It’s also God’s will we should give thanks in all kinds of circumstances (1 Thessalonians 5:18) and that we should also avoid sexual sin (1 Thessalonians 4:3). These things are important because 1 John 2:17 tells us that the person who does the will of God will live forever.
“Give us today our daily bread….” (Matthew 6:11 NIV)
In Jesus’ day, the term “bread” represented both food and the needs of everyday life. In a similar way, we should also ask God to supply us with our daily needs. But as we said earlier, our prayer requests should only come after we have first acknowledged and honored God for who He is and have expressed our desire to see things done His way in people’s lives.
“Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors” (Matthew 6:12 NIV)
Jesus talks more about this a little later when he says, “For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins” (Matthew 6:14-15 NIV).
Why is this? Well, Jesus summed it up pretty well in Luke 6:35-36: “…love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked” (NIV -see also Matthew 18:23-35).
“And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one” (Matthew 6:13 NIV).
Finally, Jesus points out that we should request God’s guidance, help and protection from Satan, our adversary who “…prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8). If you take these elements of the Lord’s Prayer and make them your own then you can be sure that you are praying in a way that’s pleasing to God.
Who were those "Three Wise Men" who found Jesus by the help of a star and what happened to them?
OK, let’s talk a little about these wise men or magi as they are also known. Matthew 2:1 tells us this…
“Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, saying, ‘Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him'” (Matthew 2:1-2 NKJ).
So who were these guys? Well, these men have often been referred to as “kings” over the years. In the King James Version of the Bible the magi are referred to as “wise men” like it says above. But believe it or not it is probably more accurate to refer to these men as “astrologers”. The term “magi” was used as the name for priests and wise men among the ancient civilizations of the Medes, Persians and Babylonians. These guys were supposed to be able to predict future events by studying the movements of the stars and planets just as modern day astrologers claim to be able to do today.
How many Magi were there? Well, tradition says that there were three of them and that their names were Melchior, Caspar and Balthasar. While it’s customary to think of “The Three Wise Men” there were probably more than three. In fact, there were probably a great many magi that came to see Jesus. Remember that Matthew 2:3 says that all Jerusalem was disturbed by the arrival of these men. Jerusalem was a big, important trade center and the Magi must have shown up with quite a big group for the whole city to notice them.
So what happened to these men? Well, all we really know is what’s told to us in Matthew 2:12: “And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.” Because they came and worshiped Jesus, The Doctor thinks it’s safe to assume that they made a commitment to follow the only true God. But as to whatever became of them afterwards we really can’t say for sure.
You can read some more about the Magi here
Do you have a question for The Doctor? Just send it to the email address above- you’ll get a personal reply and you just might see it answered here.