Scot McKnight's book, The Jesus Creed: Loving God, Loving Others is a book you ought to read and digest. We're using it in our "family devotions".
I began this blog looking at "the Jesus Creed" and "Praying the Jesus Creed" (here, here and here), his first two chapters in the book. Certainly to love God with one's entire being and activity and to love one's neighbor as themselves is foundational and formational to being the community of Jesus.
Today we consider something of Scot's third chapter in the book. "The Abba of the Jesus Creed" refers to the god whom Jesus referred to. Jesus calls God "Father", Aramaic: "Abba", as his common name for God. This emphasis is new to Jesus (though not its usage). "The premise of the Jesus Creed is that God loves us. And that premise is found in the term Abba." (p 30)
Jesus teaches his disciples/us to pray addressing God as "Our Father"/"Father" (Matthew 6:9; Luke 11:2). Jesus explains his activity in eating and drinking with sinners in terms of a parable about Abba's love, the Jesus Creed in story form (Luke 15:11-32). I love Scot's recounting of this story. This was revolutionary in Jesus' time, and really is in our time as well.
We live in a world in which we've all accumulated scars which desensitivize us to love in relationships. It is hard enough to believe that God loves us as Father, and harder yet to experience that love, and let God's love change our lives. As Scot says, there is no more important truth in the Bible than this truth of God's love for each one of us. This Father wants our love in return. We need to "open our hearts to Abba's love." (p 30)
"The Jesus Creed is to love God, and the premise under the Jesus Creed is a promise of truth: Abba loves us." (p 32)