who’s your daddy? | John 8.37-41
I know that you are offspring of Abraham; yet you seek to kill me because my word finds no place in you. I speak of what I have seen with my Father, and you do what you have heard from your father.”
They answered him, “Abraham is our father.” Jesus said to them, “If you were Abraham’s children, you would be doing the works Abraham did, but now you seek 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 doing the works your father did.” John 8.37-41 | ESV
“Let’s face facts. Yes, you are Abraham’s offspring – yet you seek to do me in because you can’t stomach what I have to say to you. And why not? I’m only feeding you what Abba is dishing up – so if you can’t stomach my words, it’s clear that you have another father who’s been touching your palate and shaping your appetite.” Once again they bristled. “Abraham is the only father we have known or need!” Jesus was unrelenting. “If that were so, if you really were Abraham’s children, then we wouldn’t have a problem here because then you’d walk, talk, and look like Abraham. But that’s not Abraham’s face I see – contorted with murderous rage towards someone who has simply told you the Truth he has heard from God himself. No, that’s not Abraham’s way at all. You’re mimicking another parent altogether.” MAV (Mike’s Amplified Version)
My youngest daughter graduated from high school. It was a remarkable achievement for her – graduating some two years early – and a milestone for us in that, well, she is our youngest. Being in a homeschool co-op, the graduating class was relatively small, so each graduating student had time to make a five-minute speech. We were excited to hear her speak – something we hadn’t managed to experience yet. She got up, began her speech, and instantly I was mortified. I wanted to slide under the chair.
I was watching and listening to me.
It was uncanny, and, frankly, horrifying – for the simple reason that I hate listening to or watching myself. And here I was, in her speech, in her movements. She wasn’t trying to mimic me. If she had it would have been parody. It was the unconscious imitation of the dad she’s seen speak publicly, clearly, one too many times.
There’s a whole lot of “daddy talk” in the rest of this heated exchange in John 8. Jesus talks about his Daddy (Abba); they talk about their “Father Abraham,” about their Father, God. Jesus challenges both claims and counters with the charge that their true parentage is found in darker realms.
Yes, it’s the “Who’s your daddy?” phase of the debate – a question that cannot be answered by birth certificates or claims of heritage; it’s all about what we do and how we do it – especially when we’re not trying.
It’s who we simply are.
It’s the unaffected manner of a child who’s spent an awe-ful lot of time around Dad. It just comes out. To overtly try being like Dad can easily degenerate into parody – and the religious world is filled with such acts, just as those temple courts were filled with those performing them. Jesus challenges us to drop the act and to stop haggling over a religious paternity test.
He calls for something much more simple and direct: to take a good look in the mirror and see what father is reflected in our face.
Take a good look in the mirror of your life: what father is evident in your face? What are the genetic markers you see on display?
Abba, deliver me from the glib use of that name, “Abba” – let it be the reality of me, Abba’s child, basking in your light, embraced in your arms, hearing and responding to your voice. Through Jesus.