Jesus defines what a word means. Want to know what it means to call God Abba? Look at His baptism and Gethsemane… Abba has been hijacked by sentimental violin music, 20 th and 21st century psychotherapy and soft lighting and teaching that fits that tear jerking atmosphere… The healing aspect of the word seems to have all but drowned out the reverential honouring of God as Abba by meekly embracing His will as our delight.
The centre of the Abba experience for Jesus was both delighting in being delighted in and delighting to do Abba’s will above any reluctance. It is about trusting Abba’s love and the goodness of His will. It is about a 30 plus year old man setting anything he might have thought of pursuing and saying “Amen” to the Father he loved and who loved him. “Abba” = true intimacy and reverential obedience.
I am no one’s judge, fortunately! If someone thinks Papa or Daddy or whatever are words that captures both security and a chosen decision to embrace the Father’s will though it may involve suffering rather than pleasure, then fine. It is a matter of simple fact that there was no other word available to Jesus to describe His relationship to Abba than Abba. No alternative word actually existed. If He was speaking in today’ s diverse cultures where there are alternative words such as Daddy, Papa and Father I wonder what word He would pick to describe secure joy filled intimacy and making costly blood sweating submission my chosen delight above all things?
“Abba” for Jesus was not simply a “me-feeling-secure-and whole” word but a “me-submitted-with-ease-or-struggle” word. It was as much a word to be accompanied by a trumpet call to battle and a fully grown and equipped warrior’s enemy-terrifying cry of victory as a time to “just be still and receive.”
..oh yes…in the bounds of these parameters place a daily trust that Abba knows, is constantly with His child, and provides practical provision and every needed grace and more.