Friday, January 3, 2014
Whose Child Are You?
Luke 3:8 Bear fruits worthy of repentance. Do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our ancestor’; for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham.
Luke 3:23 ¶ Jesus was about thirty years old when he began his work. He was the son (as was thought) of Joseph son of Heli,
The religious officials were proud of their ancestors and loved to produce long genealogies. They loved to trace their familial roots back to Abraham, and hopefully there were a few famous people along the way. It was this connection to the past that they believed provided them with a place in the future — in God’s political kingdom to come. Sadly there was so much about God that they simply did not understand. They were thoroughly convinced that they were children of God, born from the seed of Abraham.
John the Baptist was telling them that their connection to Abraham would not be what identified them as God’s children. Instead, to be identified as one of God’s children your life had to bear fruit — fruit worthy of repentance. This seemed a rather novel idea to these Jews. Surely they were God’s children — because they could prove it. No, John said they had to look like and act like God, they had to bear the family resemblance, by bearing fruit. God could change the entire paradigm and now even those with no heritage to Abraham could be transformed into the image of God. These are God’s children.
The author cleverly ends this chapter by including the genealogy of Jesus Christ — tracing his roots (so the people thought) back to Abraham through Joseph. But Jesus wasn’t Joseph’s son — he was God’s son, and so the shift had already begun.
The first two words here, “bear fruits” are the ones that must instantly grab our attention. It doesn’t matter who your parents are or were — you must “bear fruit” in your own life. No one can ride the coattails of their parents — eventually your own life has to “bear fruit.”
Sadly there are those who are bearing bad, rotten and stinky fruit. At the same time there are those who are bearing good fruit, fruit that resembles their heavenly Father. It doesn’t matter who our earthly father might be, but what matters is that we resemble our heavenly Father. The people all thought Joseph was Jesus’ father, but little did they understand that God was his father. Jesus came to make our adoption into the family possible. Just like Jesus we may have earthly mothers and fathers but we are all called to bear fruit like our heavenly father.
What does the Father’s fruit look like? I believe it includes the fruit of the spirit because when we, his children, are filled with the Holy Spirit, then God himself is filling us up and dwelling in us and the overflow is the Spirit — God. That is why God’s children begin to look like and act like him.
I am proud of and love my earthly father dearly. He’s a good man who has loved and nurtured me and provided an excellent example for me. However, as much as I love my earthly father, I know that I am called to be transformed into the image of my heavenly Father.
Whose child are you? Who do you resemble? It is the family resemblance which is required to be a part of God’s eternal family.
Lord, please fill me with your Spirit so that your fruit may overflow in my life. Amen.