6
‘Abba, Father’: The God of Jesus

As has been seen in the discussion of the Kingdom of God, the idea of a heavenly Ruler was fundamental to Jews in the biblical, inter-testamental and rabbinic ages. But so was the concept of God’s Fatherhood. The two titles are coupled in the famous liturgical prayer, Avinu, malkenu (Our Father, our King), the origin of which is attributed by Talmudic tradition (bTaan 25a) to Rabbi Akiba’s (d. c. AD 135) invocation before the ark of the synagogue which ended a bitter drought:

Our Father, our King, we have sinned before Thee.
Our Father, our King, we have no King but Thee.
Our Father, our King, have mercy upon us.

Whereas in public pronouncements and prayers, the divine epithet, ‘King’, seems to predominate in ancient Jewish literature, as has been underlined, it is strikingly absent from sayings attributed to Jesus (cf. pp. 133–37). By contrast, the Synoptic Gospels depict him as addressing God, or speaking of him, as ‘Father’ in some sixty instances, and at least once place on his lips the Aramaic title, Abba. That the idea is essential for the accurate perception of the religion of Jesus is beyond question, and as usual, it goes without saying that in order to perceive his message dynamically, the Gospel evidence will have to be envisaged in perspective.


I The Heavenly Father in the Teaching of Jesus

The concept of God as Father of Jesus, of his followers, and of the whole created world, is deeply implanted in the Gospels. It figures in various literary forms – parables, sayings, prayers – and in all

-152-

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The Religion of Jesus the Jew
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page i
  • Contents v
  • Preface ix
  • 1 - Jesus the Jew and His Gospel 1
  • 2 - Jesus and the Law- The Judaism of Jesus 11
  • 3 - Jesus the Teacher- Scriptural and Charismatic Authority 46
  • 4 - Proverbs and Parables 76
  • 5 - Jesus and the Kingdom of God 120
  • 6 - ‘Abba, Father’- The God of Jesus 152
  • 7 - Jesus the Religious Man 184
  • 8 - The Religion of Jesus and Christianity 208
  • Abbreviations 217
  • Bibliography 221
  • Index of Names 227
  • Index of References 231
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