Easter Devotional Week 3: Approach the Father

Jesus referenced God with complete familiarity. He called Him "Abba;" Daddy.

Yahweh was a holy name. So holy it was never spoken aloud. But Jesus referenced God with complete familiarity. He called Him "Abba;" Daddy.

Devotionals for Easter


We say it now with some casualness. It's another name for God, albeit in another language. It's become a helpful tool for sounding smart or spiritual; more of an official title for deity.

Not so to the Hebrews.

This was a holy name. The holy name. The name that was so holy, so separate that it was never uttered. Never completely written. In fact, we might even be pronouncing it incorrectly because it was never said out loud in ancient times.

Then you can imagine the outright scandal that occurred when some upstart Rabbi showed up on the scene in first century not using this name. Instead he referenced the God of this name with utter and complete familiarity. Jesus called Him "Abba." Daddy. A term of affection.

No wonder they called Him a blasphemer.

The gospels record again and again Jesus calling God His Father, all the while the onlookers marveled: Where is the fear? Where is the respect? Where is the reverence?

Oh, they were all there, but something else was there too. There was love. Both given and received. But there is one instance when Jesus didn't use this name for God. There was one moment when "Abba" became "My God."

As Jesus was suspended in the air, nailed to two cross beams, He felt the broken relationship with His Father as sin was thrust upon Him. The unthinkable happened, and Jesus responded by quoting Psalm 22:1: "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?"

"Abba" became "My God" at the cross. But gloriously, "My God" also became "Abba" at the cross.

The unthinkable happened.

Those held at a distance from God because of their sin suddenly had access into the unseen realms of glory. The far were brought near. The alienated were brought inside the house. The enemies became children.

And we now cry, "Abba, Father," precisely because He cried "My God."

Reading: John 19

Prayer: As we near Easter, worship the Lord today in intimacy. Gratefully approach Him in the way Jesus did — as children do to their loving Father.

Devotionals for Easter

Michael Kelley lives in Nashville, Tenn., with his wife, Jana, and three children: Joshua, Andi, and Christian. He serves as the Director of Groups Ministry for LifeWay Christian Resources. As a communicator, Michael speaks across the country at churches, conferences, and retreats, and is the author of Wednesdays Were Pretty Normal: A Boy, Cancer, and God; Transformational Discipleship; and Boring: Finding an Extraordinary God in an Ordinary Life.