“Jesus was indwelt by the Spirit of the Father and given a name for God that would scandalize both the theology and public opinion of Israel, the name that escaped the mouth of the Nazarene carpenter: Abba.”
Abba literally means “Daddy” and was used by Jewish children as an intimate way of addressing their fathers. As a term to be used in referring to divinity, however, it was unheard of not only in Judaism but in any of the world religions. Joachim Jeremias wrote,
Abba, as a way of addressing God, is ipsissima vox, an authentic original utterance of Jesus. We are confronted with something new and astounding. Herein lies the great novelty of the gospel.
Years ago Brennan Manning told of a priest from Detroit named Edward Farrell who visited his uncle in Ireland in honor of his eightieth birthday. On his uncles’ big day, they got up before dawn and walked quietly along the shores of Lake Killarney then paused to take in the sunrise. They stood there together basking in the beauty of the rising sun when suddenly the uncle turned and went skipping down the road; beaming and smiling from ear to ear.
The nephew said, “Uncle Seamus, you really look happy.”
“I am, lad.”
“Want to tell me why?”
His eighty-year-old uncle replied, “Yes, you see, my Abba is very fond of me.”
For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” ~ Romans 8:14-15
Most of us understand, at least to some degree, that God loves us; that was demonstrated by His willingness to send Jesus to die in our place. But do we realize that God also likes us and longs for an intimate relationship with us? Do we know how much He delights in us as His children?