John 8:37-38 (NIV)
“I know you are Abraham’s descendants. Yet you are ready to kill me, because you have no room for my word. I am telling you what I have seen in the Father’s presence, and you do what you have heard from your father.”
The conflict between Jesus and the Jewish people ultimately came down to a difference in starting point; a difference in worldview. Worldview, in the way Jesus presents it, is far more than a difference of opinion or a difference in perspective. It is a difference that originates in the heart.
At least from His human nature, Jesus shared the same bloodline as his fellow Jews. They were all physical descendants of Abraham, the ancestral father of the whole Jewish nation. And they shared common Scriptures, the very oracles of God, given through Moses and through God’s prophets down through the centuries.
But that where the similarities ended. Even starting from the same Scriptures, Jesus and the vast majority of the Jewish people, people who listened to Him, followed Him, and frequently disagreed with Him, brought an entirely different set of knowledge and experience to bear in interpreting those Scriptures, as well as a different heart. Jesus points to this difference as a difference of two fathers.
Jesus had come from the right hand of His Father in heaven, the God that the Jews claimed to worship and serve. Thus, His perspective was entirely heaven-centered. He saw things as God sees them and communicated using God’s very own words. His view of Scriptures was God’s view, even when it went crosswise to the interpretations favored by the scribes and rabbis.
The Jewish people, on the other hand, especially their spiritual leadership, were earthbound in their viewpoints and thought processes. For the vast majority of them, their relationship with God was second-hand, mediated through priests and rabbis. And, most importantly, their whole worldview was skewed and tainted by sin, the common thread that runs through all of the people of the world, and which puts a huge gulf between Jesus’ understanding of God’s kingdom and their own.
This contamination of sin and the distant relationship with God, resulted in such a profound corruption of the heart that some of those people were actually plotting against Jesus’ life, proved that they had a strong family resemblance to a different father than the Father Jesus was referring to. And, although this father remains unnamed at this point in the argument, all of the indicators were clearly pointing in an entirely different direction that God’s.
Father, we often play down worldview differences as simply differences of opinion, without tracing them back to their sources. When we do, we find that things run much deeper than we imagined, and we also find that those core differences make it incredibly difficult for us to communicate clearly with each other. It really is a difference of fathers to whom we owe our existence, and to whom we bear a resemblance. Thank You, Lord, for adopting me, for becoming my Father when I surrendered to Jesus, and for transforming my life, my heart, my entire worldview. Amen.