Abba, Father! Words seldom associated with Jesus: “To distress, to grieve, have pain, severe sorrow, emotional pain, sadness, feel fear, am distressed, troubled, full of heaviness of mind, very sad, exceedingly sorrowful, greatly grieved, terror, anxiety, anguish, intently, fervently, earnestly, strenuously, without slack. Fell down on the ground prostrate, knelt down and prayed. His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground. An angel appeared to Him from heaven, strengthening Him.”
This is one of the most Holy events in all of world history. I did not desire to focus on this subject but I know Jesus wanted me to do this so I must obey and give my best effort to show from the scriptures what Jesus experienced in the Garden of Gethsemane. This was the night following what we call the Lord’s Supper when the New Covenant was given. It was before Jesus was to be crucified on the cross the next day. Also it was the night of His betrayal, being forsaken, the trials, beatings, scourging, mocking, spit, slaps, crown of thorns, carrying the cross to Calvary and being nailed to the cross where He shed His Holy Pure Blood on the cross as payment for our sins.
We are living today in a time of great distress around the world. For many God seems so distant or uncaring or unknowing of their pain and suffering. Most people today think of a smiling, handsome Jesus. But in the events on the Mount of Olives we see Jesus in a different way. The description of His sufferings as He faces the night and day ahead of Him makes us want to close our eyes and cover our ears as we see and hear Jesus.
However we must go on… All of this must be understood before we can fully understand why Jesus for the only time that we have a record of Him calling the Father, “Abba Father.”
This will show us that when you and I face in life some of these awful feelings, we know that God understands because Jesus who is One with the Father and Holy Spirit. Please stay with me in this study. I must refer to the correct meaning of the words in these scriptures. Then you will see for yourself and may realize that you can also pray crying out “Abba Father”.
Mark 14:32-36 “They went to a place called Gethsemane, and Jesus said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” He took Peter, James and John along with Him, and He began to be deeply distressed and troubled. “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death,” He said to them. “Stay here and keep watch.” Going a little farther, He fell to the ground and prayed that if possible the hour might pass from Him.“Abba, Father,” He said, “all things are possible for You. Take this cup from Me. Yet not what I will, but what You will.”
Several days earlier Jesus said “Now My soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save Me from this hour’? But for this purpose I came to this hour. “Father, glorify Your Name.” John 12:27-28.
Transliteration: piptó, Phonetic Spelling: (pip’-to) Definition: to fall, Usage: To fall, fall prostrate.
Matthew 26:37-39 “And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and He began to be sorrowful and deeply distressed. Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”
Transliteration: lupeó, Phonetic Spelling: (loo-peh’-o) Definition: to distress, to grieve, Usage: pain, grieve, vex, severe sorrow, emotional pain, sadness
Transliteration: adémoneó, Phonetic Spelling: (ad-ay-mon-eh’-o) Definition: to be distressed, Usage: feel fear, lack courage, am distressed, troubled. Be full of heaviness of mind.
Greek: perilupos, Phonetic Spelling: (per-il’-oo-pos) Definition: very sad. Usage: exceedingly sorrowful, greatly grieved.
Luke 22:41-44 “And He was withdrawn from them about a stone’s throw, and He knelt down and prayed, saying, “Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.” Then an angel appeared to Him from heaven, strengthening Him. And being in agony, He prayed more earnestly. Then His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.”
agónia (only time this word is used in the New Testament) Phonetic Spelling: (ag-o-nee’-ah) Definition: a contest, Usage: (properly the feeling of the athlete before a contest), terror, anxiety, agony, anguish.
ektenós Phonetic Spelling: (ek-ten-oce’) Definition: intently, fervently. Usage: earnestly, strenuously, fervently. More intently, more earnestly, more strenuously, without slack.
With Jesus having all these feeling and emotions and actions we can see the reason Jesus used the words, “Abba Father”. Although the New Testament was written in Greek, the main language Jesus and the disciples spoke was in all likelihood Aramaic and of course Hebrew.
Abba is an intimate word for father. Like we might say in English, daddy, papa or like a baby saying dada. This is the word Jesus used in His prayer while He was in great distress, struggle, troubled, and in agony on the Mount of Olives in the Garden of Gethsemane as He prayed. This was the night before Jesus was to be crucified the next day on the cross.
Jesus often used the word Father in His prayers as recorded in the Gospels. Father is very often used in the Bible. However Jesus now uses the word “Father Father”. The first word for Father is Abba. Early translations of the double repeat of the word is left in Aramaic. This was a common word people understood and was very inmate, tender, personal and loving. Like a little child that falls down and hurts themselves and runs to their father saying ‘daddy, daddy’ I’m hurting, help me!
For all eternity Jesus had been One with the Father and Holy Spirit. Now the Word had become flesh and dwelled on earth in a human body. He was to have placed upon Him all the sins of the world on the cross. Jesus knew all that was to happen in the coming hours and the weight of it was upon Him. We see not only the pain of the physical suffering to come but also the agony of the pain in His heart and soul.
The agony was so great that He called out ‘Abba Father’! This was so painful He knelt on the ground praying and then He fell prostrate on the ground. He was laying flat, face down praying. He was in such agony that an angel came and strengthened Him! Jesus needed help! His disciples kept sleeping even when He had gone to ask them to watch and pray for Him.
As He prayed even more earnestly His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground!!! I once interviewed a well-known doctor on a TV program. He shared about Jesus and the drops of blood. He explained that under great great stress the face can turn red and then the blood vessels can burst and blood can drip from the face. This would leave Jesus’ face black, blue and swollen. Often people trying to lift something heavy or push hard the face will turn red.
In Isaiah 52:14 the scripture says of the Messiah “His appearance was disfigured beyond that of any man, and His form was marred beyond human likeness.” This was the awful stress Jesus had as He said to “Abba Father” “Not My will but Thy will be done.”
I will now share what this can mean to you personally. Let us look at the two other times the word Abba is used in the New Testament.
Romans 8:14-18 “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs; heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him that we may also be glorified together.”
Galatians 4:4-7 “But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.”
On the cross Jesus cried out “Father into you Hands I commit My Spirit.” Luke 23:46
You will notice that Jesus ‘cried out’ Father, and the two scriptures above show that preceding “Abba Father” it also uses the term ‘cry out.”
This shows that when you are in a deep struggle in heart and mind and body you can cry out! That word in Greek is Krazo: meaning to scream, shriek or cry out with a loud voice as Jesus does on the cross.
One thing I must note is that Abba Father did not take the cup from Jesus. But He gave Jesus the strength to endure the moment and all that was before Him. I am reminded of this scripture; “Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 4:16
Don’t be afraid of calling or crying out to ‘Abba Father’ in your times of need. Those of you who are saved and adopted into the family of God are His children and He welcomes you. You are an heir of God through Christ. You are in the family and you can come to Jesus and God will be with you always as you find mercy and grace.
This study has been so wonderful to me personally. I pray you are as blessed as I am with these scriptures and promises.
I desire to fall into the Arms of Jesus in the face of everything I face and in every need. I make my request known and then trust Jesus and rest in His will. Abba Father had Jesus drink the cup. Jesus went on to complete His eternal mission of salvation to whosoever will may come. Call upon Jesus and ask Him to be your Savior and Lord as you repent of your sins and put your trust in Jesus to save you. Now confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus as your Savior.
Here are just a few scriptures I want to share that will greatly bless you.
“He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, acquainted with grief. Like one from whom men hide their faces, He was despised, and we esteemed Him not.” Isaiah 53:3
“Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.” Hebrews 4:14-15
“Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise Him; He has put Him to grief. When You make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days, And the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in His hand.” Isaiah 53:10
“For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” 2 Corinthians 5:21
“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30
You may want to print this off and study it or use it in a Bible study or sermon.
Pilgrim followers of Jesus, Arthur and Denise Blessitt, Luke 18:1