Please open your Bible to the book of Mark chapter 14. I will begin at verse 32 and read through verse 39.
In this text we find our Lord agonizing in prayer as he called on the Father. He offered prayer of such intensity the Bible says he sweat great drops of blood. Medically, bloody sweating is called hematohidrosis. Doctors know it may occur in individuals suffering from extreme levels of stress.
Around the sweat glands, there are multiple blood vessels in a net-like form, which constrict under the pressure of great stress. In the case of our Lord, his body fell under such pressure the small capillaries associated with the sweat glands burst from the stress of his agonizing prayer. This resulted in the secretion of blood through the sweat glands.
There is not doubt Jesus was troubled in soul. In John’s gospel Jesus said, “And now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour.”
I remind you our Lord endured the agony of Gethsemane and the agony of the cross for our salvation. I trust you hold him in great reverence today. We owe all to him.
With that said, I want you to take note of how Jesus addressed the Father. May we read the text together: (Mark 14:32-39).
32And they came to a place which was named Gethsemane: and he saith to his disciples, Sit ye here, while I shall pray.
33And he taketh with him Peter and James and John, and began to be sore amazed, and to be very heavy;
34And saith unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful unto death: tarry ye here, and watch.
35And he went forward a little, and fell on the ground, and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him.
36And he said, Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt.
37And he cometh, and findeth them sleeping, and saith unto Peter, Simon, sleepest thou? couldest not thou watch one hour?
38Watch ye and pray, lest ye enter into temptation. The spirit truly is ready, but the flesh is weak.
39And again he went away, and prayed, and spake the same words.
As we begin, please take note of verse 33. Jesus took his inner circle of disciples and began to be sore amazed (deeply distressed) and to be very heavy (very troubled). Then Jesus separated himself from Peter, James, and John going forward a little whereupon he fell on the ground and prayed. Mark says he prayed this way, saying, “Abba, Father.”
This language speaks of the intimate relationship between Jesus and his Father. The word abba is an Aramaic term of endearment for the Father. This word combined with the Greek could be read as dear Father. Jesus is praying, “my dear Father.” Clearly, his heart is deeply troubled with the prospect of becoming the object of the Father’s holy wrath against the sin of the world.
You will recall in our Lord’s high priestly prayer recorded in John 17, Jesus lifted his eyes to heaven in the presence of all his disciples and offered a prayer to the Father in which he said, “And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.”
Think carefully about this statement. Jesus is speaking of a pre-existence with the Father before the world was. Of course, he was not speaking of his human nature. Humanly speaking, life for the man Christ Jesus began at conception in the womb of his mother Mary. As you will recall, Mary was found with child of the Holy Ghost as the power of the Highest overshadowed her.
It is essential to understand the miracle of the virgin conception clothed the eternal Word with human nature in the person of Jesus the Christ. As the Word of God declares, it pleased the Father that in him (Jesus, the promised Messiah) should all the fullness of the Godhead (the Divine Nature) dwell in bodily form (Col. 1:19; 2:9).
This explains our Lord’s reference to the glory he had with the Father before the world was. No mere man could make this statement, but the Divine Son of God could make this statement. Jesus is referencing his position in the Godhead where he shares the intrinsic glory of God with the Father and the Holy Spirit.
In this statement we gain a glimpse into the fellowship of the Father and the Son before the world was. I need to remind you the one true God possesses a triune nature. He eternally exists as the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. An intimate relationship exists between the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit within the Godhead. Indeed, God is love and that great attribute of God finds its first expression within the Godhead.
I should also remind you the Bible is God’s self-revelation to mankind with the pinnacle of that revelation occurring with the advent of the man Christ Jesus. While the nature of the one true God along with His attributes are revealed in the Old Testament history, the coming of Christ brought each into full focus.
My friends, if you want to gain a proper and full knowledge of the nature and attributes of the one true, living God, then you must study the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ fully reveals the heart of his Father who sent him to be the Savior of the world. Jesus Christ fully reveals the work of the Holy Spirit our Comforter who abides with us forever. Furthermore, the eternal Son reveals the passion of God as Redeemer when he veiled his glory with human nature, took to himself the form of a servant, and became obedient to death, even the death of the cross.
The centerpiece of any study of the life of Christ is his unique relationship to the Father and his revelation to mankind of the Fatherhood of God. Consider the following Scriptures for a moment and we can see both his unique relationship to the Father and his revelation to us of the Fatherhood of God:
In Luke chapter two we read, “And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business?” Joseph and Mary did not fully understand what Jesus meant with those words, but clearly at the tender age of twelve Jesus recognized his unique relationship to God as his Father.
The years past until at age 30 Jesus appeared to John the Baptist the forerunner of Messiah. Upon baptizing Jesus and identifying him as the Son of God, the Father spoke from heaven saying, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”
Soon Jesus began his public ministry and in his famous Sermon on the Mount he refers to his Father 15 times. In those statements he reveals the Fatherhood of God in various ways. For example he says, “But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.”
Again, in this sermon Jesus taught us to pray, “Our Father which art in heaven, hallowed be thine name.” Later in this same sermon he comforts us concerning daily needs by assuring us our heavenly Father knows that we have need of all these things.
Then note these powerful words from John chapter twelve. Jesus says, “If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honor.”
Finally, at the end of his public ministry Jesus knew his hour was come that he should depart out of this world unto the Father. In those hours before his great sacrifice upon the cross Jesus shared the Last Supper with his disciples and proceeded to give them the teaching found in John chapters 14 through 17.
It is in those hours Jesus told them, “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.”
My friend, it is the will of the Father that you join him in that glorious place one day when this life is over. The Father stands ready to adopt you into his family. Indeed, he is ready to cleanse you and pour his grace upon you and accept you into his family on the merits of his dear Son.
Now, look again at the Savior who lies prostrate on the ground in the garden of Gethsemane. He prays, “Abba, Father.” I said at the beginning of this message the term Abba is a term of endearment. Jesus is more than close to his Father. He is the beloved Son of God. He possesses an equal love for his Father and thus he addresses him as Abba, Father. It might seem inappropriate to us, but this term is so endearing we could translate it as papa.
As I thought about this language a picture came to my mind from a movie perhaps some of you have watched. Movies about war generally portray violence and sometimes writers and producers may take too much license in their portrayal of that violence. With that said, the movie featuring Mel Gibson as The Patriot set forth the possible experience of one father who suffered abuse at the hands of the British during the Revolutionary war fought by America for independence.
Once thrust into the war the father left his children behind to fight. After some time away he came to visit his family for awhile in a safe place apart from the war. But he had to leave again. He said his good-byes and came to his youngest child, his daughter. Traumatized by the war she had not said a word to anyone for some time, including her father.
He knelt beside her and hoped she would respond verbally to him, but she did not. Furthermore, when he reached to embrace her, she pulled away from him in silence. He proceeded to mount his horse and to ride off when to the surprise of all the little one began to cry, Papa, Papa! She wept as she saw him riding away and cried, Papa, Papa!
The cry of that child reached her father’s ears. At once he turned his horse to a stop and seeing her running toward him, he dismounted and ran toward her and
embraced her. She was crying, “Papa, Papa, please do not leave me.” He consoled her with the promise he would come home again.
I shared that story to illustrate the closeness of relationship depicted by the use of this term of endearment. My friends, the Son of God addressed his Father with this same word. “Papa, my dear Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou would have me to do.”
Jesus proceeded to the cross and the moment came when he cried in agony of soul, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” In that moment, the Father could not run to his beloved Son. In that moment, the heart of God was broken to save a lost world.
In that moment, the Father so loved the world he gave his only begotten Son for our redemption. In that moment, the Father judged Jesus in our place as our sin bearer. In that moment, the Lord Jesus offered himself through the eternal Spirit without spot to God. In that moment, he purchased a pardon from guilt and condemnation for all who believe upon him. Praise his dear name!
Now I close with this powerful truth. Through the work of the cross the Father is free to welcome all who believe into His family. Those who do receive Christ as their Savior “have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father!” (Romans 8:15).
How sweet to know the Father has poured upon us his love, his grace, and his mercy, adopting us into his family. We are now his sons and daughters by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. And you better know when we cry, “Papa, Papa,” He is free to take us in his arms with the promise He will never leave us, nor forsake us!
What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? He is our Father and we are his children by faith in Jesus Christ.