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April 18

Jesus the Boy (Jesus as a boy missing his Father) by Daniel Bonnell

Jesus the Boy (Jesus as a boy missing his Father) by Daniel Bonnell

Jesus Prays on the Mount of Olives, Betrayal and Arrest of Jesus

Luke 22:39-53
by Ben Doggett

When I read the account of Jesus praying in the Garden of Gethsemane, I often remember a sermon I once heard, based on the account of this scene in Mark 14:32-42. The preacher pointed out that this is the first place in the Gospel of Mark where Jesus calls his Father, “Abba,” the Aramaic word that could be translated as something like “Papa,” an affectionate word that a child would call a dearly loved Father. For Jesus, it was specifically this dark night, when he began to feel abandoned by his closest friends, when he was anticipating the immanent suffering and shame of the cross and his own alienation from the Father, that this word nevertheless arises from the depths of his soul as he cries out to God.

This word is our inheritance as children of God. But when we experience our own dark nights and seasons of despair, is this word, “Abba” one that we feel we can use? When we feel abandoned by God, are we tempted to turn our despair into distance? Our only hope is the Spirit of God—the Spirit of Christ—who testifies with our spirits that we are God’s Children (Rom. 8:15-16). In our weakness, it is the Holy Spirit who helps us to pray, the Spirit of the One who cried “Abba” on the darkest night imaginable, declaring the truth that despite our present experience, God is good, God is for us, and that He will see us through this season to a harvest of glory, for “the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” (Rom. 8:18)

When I first heard that sermon on Mark 14, eleven years ago, it prompted me to write a song: LISTEN HERE. May these words be our prayer in every season, as we learn to take hold of our identity as God’s child in the face of every circumstance.

In the midst of all my trouble, you are Father
In the midst of every trial, you are Abba
You are Abba, You are Abba
Even in my darkest hour, You are Father
Even though I trip and falter, You are Abba
You are Abba, You are Abba
Not my will, but let yours be done
Let your will be my own
And though the pain and the darkness come
I am never alone
You are Abba Father

Amen.

Ben Doggett serves as our contemporary worship leader at The Falls Church Anglican.

Earlier Event: April 17
April 17
Later Event: April 19
April 19