But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name John 1:12
They answered and said to Him, “Abraham is our father.” Jesus *said to them, “If you are Abraham’s children, do the deeds of Abraham. John 8:39
It is often the case with humans, the family is of primary importance in life, growing up, nurturing, development. It serves as the basis for who we are and who we become. Not the least of which laying the foundation of heredity and inheritance.
To Old Testament Israel inheritance was paramount since promises made to Abraham followed only one particular genealogical line from Abraham’s seed. The Jews were favored with inheriting all those promises made by God to Abraham. Gen 12:7 Deut. 30.6-19 Or so they thought until Jesus came on the scene preaching the gospel of the kingdom of heaven. Jesus was rude enough to point out to them the dirty little secret that the heredity was more important than what made the heredity special.
The Gospel of John describes some pointed and disturbing conversations between Jesus and the religious rulers of the day. To an alarming degree the parallels between some religious rulers and officials of today are striking. Jesus complained that some preferred the love of the letter of the Law than understanding its spirit, standing on ceremony and not showing the people how to enter the kingdom. Mat_23:13 Luke 11:40-52
What could be more repulsive to Jesus than to see the religious leaders, the shepherds who had charge of His Father’s sheep, intentionally keeping souls outside of the kingdom? God through the prophets excoriated their fathers for this very thing! Jer_23:1 Jer_50:6 Eze_34:8 Even today, how infuriated must our Lord be that ordained individuals can stand in pulpits in churches around the country and the world and preach everything except the gospel that points to a saving faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and instead squawk a watered-down socialized gospel of works! Wasn’t this what broke Jesus’ heart?
And so with the authority that was given to Him by His Father He could speak the words that John records in his gospel, words that I don’t think you nor I could get away with today, the words found in John chapter 8 when the Jewish rulers argued with Jesus about who He is and about His Father, and He finally pointedly tells them who their father really is.
They answered and said to Him, “Abraham is our father.”
Jesus *said to them, “If you are Abraham’s children, do the deeds of Abraham. But as it is, you are seeking to kill Me, a man who has told you the truth, which I heard from God; this Abraham did not do. You are doing the deeds of your father.”
They said to Him, “We were not born of fornication; we have one Father: God.”
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. Why do you not understand what I am saying? It is because you cannot hear My word. You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies. But because I speak the truth, you do not believe Me. John 8:39-45
Yes, Jesus could get away with telling the priests of His day that they were in league with the devil and were doing his work hiding behind religious ceremony as a substitute for spirituality, all the while keeping the sheep out of the kingdom of heaven by not telling them how they really can gain entrance. How many people are sitting in the pews today that have no idea that merely and blindly being obedient to rules and ceremonies have no intrinsic value or capacity to further one’s access to heaven? How many of them have a closed and never opened Bible in their possession, not having the faintest understanding that if they started reading the precious words written by their Savior that are inside that these could lead them to a saving and living faith in a living and intimate God?
So Jesus comes to tell us who His Father is and permit us to not only come to know Him but to become His child. He wants to adopt us into His family. We who are completely alienated from Him, not even from the same gene pool, He chooses to bring us into His family. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name John 1:12 We actually join the family of God! And He is proud to call us His children, and we inherit all the benefits of His glory. Romans 8:18 Eph. 1:18.
Sometime people have a difficult time approaching the topic of adoption with their adopted children. With the Christian it is something to be cherished, as it usually is in human families. But in God’s family it is joy inexpressible! Because we have the best Father possible.
[Scriptures taken from the New American Standard Bible © 1995]