It is this intimate word "Abba," or "Daddy," that reminds us that God is not a cold, formal Father, like the fathers of Victorian times. He is fatherly in everything He does.

Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, ‘Abba, Father.’ (Galatians 4:6)

One of the delightful scenes in life is to see a young child rushing into its father’s presence (no matter what important people might be around!) and calling out "Daddy" as they throw themselves into his arms. Martin still remembers the big smile of his daughter aged two or three as she called out "Daddy" when they come together after they had been apart for a little while. The amazing thing is: Jesus said we can relate to God in exactly the same way!

Calling God "Father" was a normal part of Jesus’ life and teaching; but He took it one step further. But not only did He call God "Father," he called him "Abba" – the word in Aramaic (the everyday language that he spoke) for "daddy." That this most intimate and trusting word should be found on His lips at the very moment when He could reasonably have had cause for doubting His Father – in the Garden of Gethsemane – is staggering indeed. "Abba, Father … not what I will, but what you will" (Mark 14:36). This, surely, is the heart of prayer: knowing God in a personal and intimate way, and trusting in His fatherly care for us, even when things don’t look good.

But Jesus wasn’t content with keeping this word "Abba" to Himself; He extended this privilege to us! And the word clearly made a profound impression on His disciples and the first Christians, for they preserved this Aramaic word as part of their prayer language, as we see reflected in the letters at several points.

The early church understood that calling God "Father," "Abba," meant that all Christians are truly His children, adopted into His family through faith in Jesus, with all the privileges this brings. It is this intimate word "daddy" that reminds us that God is not a cold, formal Father, like the fathers of Victorian times. He is fatherly in everything He does and in His intimate knowledge of us and care for us. Enjoy that today!

Those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, "Abba, Father." (Romans 8:14-15)

Copyright © 2017 Martin Manser and Mike Beaumont

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