"Abba, Father"

While Jesus may not have been the first to conceive of God as Father, it is certain that he was more conscious of the fact of God's fatherhood than any who had preceded him. To his spiritualized consciousness, it seems, was ever present the realization of God's presence as Father of all, as the loving omnipotent One, who had infinitely blessed all His children. Of the many references to God as Father which the Master made, none probably makes more poignant appeal than the cry of anguish which burst from his lips on the night of his arrest in the garden of Gethsemane. Out of the fullness of his agony he cried, "Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt." "Abba" is the Aramaic word for Father, but with the implication of a peculiar affection and confidence. Its use under these circumstances betokens the perfect relationship which Jesus recognized as existent between his true selfhood and infinite Love. Jesus was assured no less of the omnipotence of God than of His incomparable compassion. And for the moment his human sense, in revolt at the events about to ensue, cried out to the Father for release from the trying ordeal.

How quickly, however, did this sense of shrinking give place to the deeper conviction of assured blessedness resulting from doing the Father's will! "Not what I will, but what thou wilt," are the words of complete submission to the divine decree, in full knowledge that only good could result from unqualified obedience to the will of God. Recognition of God's fatherhood in the fullness of the term brings now as then to the human heart assurance that since God is infinite good, perfect Love, evil and hatred have no reality, no power. Jesus was the most striking example of the freedom from constricting beliefs and the dominion which result from the exercise of spiritual understanding, that the world has ever known.

As none other has had so keen a realization of the fatherhood of God and the cognate fact, the brotherhood of man, so none other has demonstrated so completely the availability of the divine power to destroy the claims of evil. As the child looks to his earthly father in full confidence of his ability to supply all his needs, so Jesus looked to his heavenly Father, infinite Love, in perfect assurance and in a confidence which entertained no doubt.

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Moral Courage
November 16, 1929

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