The Tale of Two Families
Read John 8:39-45
“Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and have come from God, for I have not even come on My own initiative, but He sent Me.”
It does not take long to see the resemblance between a son and his father and a daughter and her Mother. We see the same facial features, hear the same voice and observe the same mannerisms. But the similarities go far deeper than just the physical characteristics. Growing up in a family shapes our identity and values. As a part, my ultimate goal was to instill the values, beliefs, and faith in my children that I have, and there is no greater joy than to see our children embrace the faith we have and the values by which we live.
In Christ’s discussion with the religious leaders, he continues to confront them and challenge their faith. In this whole chapter, we see Christ directly challenging the beliefs of the Jews. This confrontation now climaxes as Christ confronts them about their family heritage. For the Jew, there was nothing more important than their ancestral lineage. They meticulously kept track of family records to maintain their ancestry to Abraham. It was their identity as an individual as well as a nation. But their family connection went beyond just their national identity; it was the foundation of their hope and salvation. For the Jews, the assurance of their salvation was grounded in the fact that they were descendants of Abraham.
In words that would have been offensive and extremely confrontational, Jesus challenges their lineage, not their physical lineage, but their spiritual lineage. While the Jews claimed to be descendants of Abraham both physically and spiritually, Jesus points out that spiritually they do not share any of the values and beliefs in common with Abraham. Family identity is more than physical. While they could trace their physical identity to Abraham, they were demonstrating a different family spiritually. In their rejection of Christ, they identified themselves with Satan.
It is easy to claim to be a Christian, but the evidence of the genuineness of our faith is not just found in our confession; it is found in how we live. Christ makes it clear that those who are genuine followers of God will accept the person and work of Christ. If we genuinely love God, then we will love Christ and follow him as well. If we fail to do so, then we belong to a different family, and that is the Devil. Shockingly Christ leaves us with no middle ground. There is no “I believe in God, but just follow a different path.” All roads that lead to God must go through Christ, and any attempt to circumvent Christ fails to have a relationship with God. We cannot claim to love God and reject Christ as the one sent by God through whom salvation comes.
If we fail to love Christ, if we fail to surrender to Him, if we fail to accept that He is the one who brings salvation, if we fail to become His disciple, then we manifest a different family. If it walks like a bear and growls like a bear, then it is not a duck. The same is true spiritually. Only when we embrace Christ and love Him, we genuinely demonstrate that we are part of His spiritual family. In your life, do you identify with Christ? Do you love him and seek to manifest His character in your life? Do you strive to obey Him in all things? Do you make Him your priority in life? When we do that we can have confidence we are part of His family with God as our Father.