Last night, my Pastor, Terry Wragg, preached on John 12:27-36. In this passage, Jesus is coming to a conclusion of his public ministry, preparing for a private ministry with his disciples leading up to his crucifixion. I noticed something small, but interesting in the passage.
In verse 27, Jesus says,
“Now is my soul troubled. And what shall is say? ‘Father, save me from this hour?’ But for this purpose I have come to this world.”
In this first statement, Jesus uses the term ‘Abba‘ for ‘father’. This is the Greek word that is the much more personal term for father. Think of it like a child calling their father ‘daddy’. In this moment, Jesus finds Himself physically vulnerable, knowing His time is coming. He asks, “Should I cry out to my daddy?” I’m not going to shrink back from this, because this is why I have come.
Jesus follows this up with this simple statement in verse 28:
“Father, glorify your name.”
In this statement, Jesus uses the word ‘pater’, which is a more formal term for father. This is a term of honor. Jesus is recognizing that God has sent Him for this purpose, and that He will proceed in obedience. It is interesting to note that as He approaches the cross, at the end of chapter 16 and in the high priestly prayer in chapter 17, Jesus sticks with ‘pater’ to address God.
Jesus was staring death in the face, knowing that He was about to bear the condemnation and punishment for the sin of the redeemed. He was about to have the wrath of God unleashed on him. He was admittedly troubled, but was determined to honor His Father, his pater, and obediently walk to the cross. Small observation, but a very neat implication.