What it means to embrace God as our Abba Father

Wednesday, August 15, 2012, Part 4

“In this manner, therefore, pray: ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.’” (Matthew 6:9)

IDEA: When we address God as Father, we do so because Jesus who spoke to God that way invited us to do so.

PURPOSE: To help listeners to be motivated to pray because they are talking to God who is their “father.”

When you spoke to your parents as you were growing up, how did you address your father or mother?

Did that change as an adult?

How do your children address you?

How about your grandchildren?

I. Does the way children speak to their parents on earth reflect something of the relation they have with them?

What, if anything, do you make of children who always refer to their father as “father” and always address him that way? No pronouns, just “Father.”

What do you think of children who speak of fathers “my old man,” or “your old man”? How about speaking of God as “The Big Man Upstairs”?

How do you feel about families in which children refer to their parents by their first names, e.g., “Walter” or “Harriet”?

Do you think this way of speaking varies with different cultures?

II. Do you think it is impressive that when Jesus prayed, He always addressed God as “Father”?

Jesus addressed God as “Father.” Only once did He use any other way of praying.

That exception is in Matthew 27:46. This is the only time in the Gospels that Jesus speaks to God in any other way. What do you make of it?

One noted New Testament scholar (1) points out that Jesus is quoting Psalm 22:1. Does that help you?

Could this single exception point to the abandonment Jesus felt on the cross?

The exception points to what it took for us to be allowed to speak to God as “Our Father in heaven.”

The word Jesus used to address God as Father was an intimate term: ABBA.

It was the common way for children to speak to their earthly fathers. It was, therefore, probably the way that Jesus and other children in the family used in speaking to their father, Joseph.

It was a term of endearment and respect, something like “Dearest Father.” Jesus used it in speaking to God and He urges us to use it when we pray.

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(1) Jeremias, The Lord’s Prayer, pp 19-20.