If you remain in my word, you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.
–We are the seed of Abraham and have never been slaves to anyone!
Christ spoke firmly to Jews who claimed to believe in Him. How could He not have laughed out loud at their magnificent obtuseness?
Never been slaves to anyone? Have you ever read, say, Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, or Deuteronomy? Have you ever sang a Psalm? Have you ever kept Passover—or Purim or Hanukkah? Our entire religion expresses gratitude to God for liberating us from slavery, you numbskulls! Even now, we live under the heel of the Roman Caesar. Please!
Instead of mocking them, though, the Lord cut right to the chase: My word has no room among you, because you live in a fantasy world of stubborn pride.
Christ and those to whom He spoke had in common their descending from Abraham according to the flesh. But Abraham himself did not have this. What Abraham had was an obedient heart. He knew that without the God of promises, he had nothing, was nothing.
So the Lord Jesus cut through to the foundations. There are really only two households, each ruled by a father who does not beget children by the flesh, but rather by spiritual communication.
The Father of Lies begets children by seducing them into unreasonable pride. Pride that cannot see the obvious.
For a Jew of the second-temple period to take pride in the history of his people’s fidelity to God would strike anyone who had ever actually read the Scriptures as ridiculous. The Scriptures do not recount the faithfulness of a stalwart people. They recount the patient, loving kindness of God towards His fickle, recalcitrant people.
This unfathomably merciful God has made Himself the Father of the other spiritual household, the household of obedience to the truth. Abraham never presumed to be the father of a household. Rather, the triune God made Abraham His child. Abraham co-operated by faith, hope, and love.
Now that the eternal Son of God has become man and done His work for us, let us live in His household by believing in, hoping in, and loving Him.
One thought on “Abraham’s Household”
In September, 1967, the sight of the Tower at the University of Texas in Austin, a little over a year after Charles Whitman made it a national icon, was especially poignant because of the inscription just below where Charlie did his shooting, “Ye shall know the Truth and the Truth shall make you free” [I can’t help it if they had the wrong Bible].
Life itself is often ironic, or idiotic, or outright hilarious (as here, with “…we’ve never been slaves…”). One definition of an adult is “someone who can sit in the midst of a diachotomy and not go stark raving mad.” So, in a sense, today’s readings are right-dead-on message. The first, from Daniel, is a direct counterpoint to the claim of never having been slaves; they are in involuntary servitude in Babylon and bound in the flaming furnace. But, the end of the first reading and The Psalm offer the way out; turn to God.
The Israelites just didn’t get the message. The Church gets the message; and, hopefully so do we.
In God we trust.