8:39 They answered him, “Abraham is our father.”

Jesus said to them, “If you were Abraham’s children, you would be doing what Abraham did, 40 but now you are trying to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. This is not what Abraham did. 41 You are indeed doing what your father does.”

 They said to him, “We are not illegitimate children; we have one father, God himself.”

Despite what you might think from the behaviour of many of his followers over the years since Jesus’ physical life on earth, Jesus was not anti-Jewish. He practiced and honoured his own faith tradition throughout his entire life.

In John 8:39-41, Jesus gives a powerful affirmation of the depth and richness of his own Jewish spiritual tradition when he says to those who claim to be Abraham’s children but are seeking to destroy Jesus,

If you were Abraham’s children, you would be doing what Abraham did.

Those who are the true offspring of Abraham, ie. those who follow his teaching and live by the faith that guided him, will not seek to destroy life. They will not work to crush the power of love simply because it does not seem to fit within the framework of their narrow legalistic interpretation of the law.

This is not what Abraham did.

Abraham lived by faith (Hebrews 11:8-12). He trusted in God, following wherever he felt that inner voice of truth directed him, even to the point where he felt called to make the ultimate sacrifice of his own flesh and blood (Hebrews 11:17-19). Abraham embodied that faith to which Jesus calls all people.

These accusers of Jesus demonstrate by their violent attitude that they are not children of Abraham. Ethnic connection is not adequate to ensure the lineage of faith and light that Jesus uncovered. Those who opposed Jesus are living in the lineage of darkness. They are the offspring of hatred and despair. But they are unable to hear Jesus’ charge against them. They can only state again that, in their eyes, the ethnic lineage they claim, qualifies them as children of the

one father, God himself.

The choices we make and the attitudes we bring to life demonstrate the true origin out of which we are living. Darkness breeds hatred and violence. The children of love recognize love when they face it and grow in their ability to express that love in every part of life.

What parentage does my life demonstrate?