Is there anyone in your family that you resemble? It’s interesting to me as I observe my family that we all carry certain traits that are easily discernible and identify us as belonging to each other.
In the passage we’ll be reading this Sunday Jesus will be discussing family traits, though not biological or genetic ones. We’ll be tackling John 8:31-59, the last installation of a very long conversation/argument that Jesus has with the leaders and the crowds while in Jerusalem.
As the discussion opens, what does Jesus point to as our source of true freedom? How does that compare to what most people think freedom is? The Israelites were outraged that Jesus would infer that they weren’t already free people (which is odd, considering that there were probably Roman soldiers standing guard over this increasingly hostile crowd). They considered themselves part of the covenant people simply because they had the right last name and were part of the Jewish race. Yet Jesus equates freedom from sin with adoption into a family – we are freed from our bondage to a broken self will and elevated to the status of family members with God. In other words – being born as a descendant of the people of promise doesn’t automatically make a person part of the family – one must commit one’s self to Christ. How does this play out in our present day church environment? How can people make the mistake of thinking they are right with God when possibly they are not?
Jesus then makes a sharp delineation between families – indicating that those who are rejecting him and his teaching are showing off the family resemblance – only they’re revealing they’re part of the wrong family. How we respond to Jesus reveals our family traits. How will our lives reflect our response to Jesus?
In the last section, Jesus makes the profound statement “Before Abraham was, I AM.” – equating himself with God and inspiring the crowd to want to stone him on the spot. It’s an awesome thought to me that Abraham looked down the corridors of history in anticipation of Christ’s day and rejoiced…it reminds me that being part of a family with God has always been his design. God wants family, not drones of religion. How can we be inspired to live in a way that shows off the family resemblance? Consider what ways we can reflect God’s character in our lives as we begin a new year.
Hope to see you Sunday!