The Family Resemblance
John 8:42 Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and now I am here. I did not come on my own, but he sent me.
John 8:43 Why do you not understand what I say? It is because you cannot accept my word.
John 8:44 You are from your father the devil, and you choose to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks according to his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.
John 8:45 But because I tell the truth, you do not believe me.
John 8:46 Which of you convicts me of sin? If I tell the truth, why do you not believe me?
John 8:47 Whoever is from God hears the words of God. The reason you do not hear them is that you are not from God.”
Jesus knew how to push all the right buttons when it came to the religious officials. Why not push them on the issue of being God's children! Of course they were the children of God, and direct descendants of Abraham. They were proud of their heritage, and yet, Jesus called into question their lineage. Why? Because they didn't act like they were a part of Abraham's family. Children should resemble their parents both physically, but also in behavior. They should also be able to recognize relatives because they also carry with them family traits.
The religious leaders were unaware of the fact that they had traded in their loyalty, from God their Father to his very enemy the Devil. How could this have happened? The enemy is very sly and he had wormed his way into their lives and twisted their hearts at the very core. It was almost as if he had altered their DNA and now they were his -- they were resembling him and behaving in the ways he would have desired. They were believing the deception and the story of the fall of humanity was being repeated as they were being presented with the path to eternal life by way of Christ. The great Deceiver had their ear and was whispering lies into their hearts and minds. How did they react? In the same way that he would react. They had been adopted by the Father of all Lies and they weren't even aware!
Confronted with truth, they could not even recognize it! Why? Because they no longer belonged to the family of truth. While they claimed to be children of God they could no longer speak the family language. Jesus' declaration would have made them furious; "you are not from God."
My brother Kurt looks and acts so much like my dad that it can be a little freaky. Even from the time that he was a teenager he and the same gait as my dad. If you saw him walking from the back, you knew that he was a part of the family. He is so much like my father that we have joked that whatever happens to my dad, my brother can just book it on his calendar because it will happen to him in thirty years! I think Kurt's already scheduled his knee replacement for sometime in 2030.
One of the things that drove Chuck, my husband, crazy when we were first dating was that my family had their own "family" language. We had lived most of our growing up years in Germany and so we had this mixed language that we spoke at home. For example, we referred to most of our favorite meals with their German names. In some cases we didn't even know the English names! My husband entered into this family and discovered he didn't speak the family language. (To give him MUCH credit -- he worked hard to learn the things of our family and even asked me to marry him in German!)
The point is that there is an incredible connection that occurs within a family and this becomes obvious. The religious leaders had so distanced themselves from the Father that they no longer resembled him and they could no longer recognize a real family member. They were proud of the fact that they could trace their roots back to Abraham but the sad truth was that they acted nothing like him. This is a sober reminder to us, for it does not matter if we can trace our roots back to family members who used to attend church, nor does it matter if we are regular church attenders if we don't resemble the true family. We were created in the image of God, and we are to be a reflection of him -- that is, we are to look like, talk like, and act like Christ in this world! Sadly, just like the religious leaders, it becomes easy to allow the Deceiver to come in and fool us into believing that we are still a part of the family when we have sold our allegiance. Are our hearts open to hearing and understanding the Truth of the family placed before us on a daily basis? Maybe we ought to take a little time today to examine ourselves in light of that truth and see whether we are resembling God's family.
Lord, please help me to continue seeking your face and may I resemble you today. Amen.