Oct 18, 2012

Best Title Ever

Although my birth name is “Thomas”, my friends call me ‘Tom” or “Tommy”. Over the years, I have been bestowed with many titles that somewhat describe who I am or what I do; among them: husband, pastor, reverend, artist, teacher, student, designer, brother, son, hockey player, athlete, guitarist, chef, grandpa, minister, friend, co-laborer, ordained, saint, sinner, leader, preacher, coach, carpenter, and jokester or “funny guy”.

But none of the names or titles ever compare to “father” or “dad” or “daddy” or “papa”. Those are bestowed upon me by my children as a term of endearment. Those very words are words that my children call me as a statement of love based on intimacy, not legality. The words made me more of a friend and less of the one who was “running the show”; even though I was in charge.

Even Jesus when He walked the earth referred to God as Father; not Almighty Omnipotent Most Holy All Powerful God. In fact, He only referred to Him as“God” one time; and that was when He was dying on the cross where He “cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” that is, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” (Matthew 27:46).

It was the time when He fully took on the sins of the world. And, I think that most theologians would agree, is when He most identified with how we, as sinful man, see God; not as a Father, but as a God.

But that is NOT the relationship that He wants us to have. When He taught us to pray, He said; “In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name.” (Matthew 6:9). When He prayed at the Last Supper prior to going to the Garden of Gethsemane, John records;Jesus spoke these words, lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said: “Father…”(John 17:1)

Now, I’m not saying that it is wrong to use words like “Jehovah” or “Yahweh” when we pray to God; or any of the attributes that He used to reveal who He is like “Banner” or “Healer” or “Shepherd” or “Mighty One” or “Sufficient” or “Sanctifier” or “Provider” or “Lord of Hosts”. Those terms all bring honor and glory to who He is.

And I’m not suggesting that it is wrong to pray in the Name of Jesus or even in some Hebrew name (but you do understand that He does understand when we speak English, right?), or “In Jesus Name” (which really has more to do with using His authority than to a special phrase or some “magic words” tacked on the end of a prayer).

Jesus’ Name IS holy and to be honored. As the Apostle Paul writes; “Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Philippians 2:9-11)

I’m just saying that because we are "children of God," and followers of Jesus Christ, we should use words that Jesus used to address God.

When He prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane prior to His arrest, He prayed; Abba, Father, all things are possible for You. Take this cup away from Me; nevertheless, not what I will, but what You will.” (Mark 14:36)

Did you catch that word attached to the word Father? It wasn’t any of the “Most HOLY God” terminology that we use to talk to God. Jesus used the word “Abba”, which is an Aramaic word that comes from the lips of infants and betokens unreasoning the trust and confidence of a child. Some theologians have translated it as the word “daddy”. In fact, slaves during that time period were forbidden to address the head of the family by this title.

I am reminded of the words of the Apostle Paul who cries out in his letters; “And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, “Abba, Father!” Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.” (Galatians 4:6-7)

Similarly he wrote to the church in Rome; “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.” (Romans 8:15)

My friends, let’s not short change the relationship with the Father and deprive Him of hearing from His children the term that He longs to hear; Father”, “Dad”, “Daddy”, and “Papa”. It speaks of our innermost spiritual relationship with Him, when we talk to Him as child to father, and speak to Him in a childlike way. Those were the names that Jesus used when He talked (prayed) to Him.

"Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved."




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