The Jews are not the true children of Abraham because they did not do what Abraham did. Abraham rejoiced to see the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. The Jews didn't. Abraham is not their true father. QED. (For more on this theme see last year's post HERE.)
Children demonstrate that they are their father's children by what they say and do. "Christ shows that in no way were [the Jews] to be regarded as the children of Abraham because they did not not follow in their father Abraham's confession of faith nor in his conduct" (Gerhard, Postilla, 276). In other words, fathers are important. Who your father is, what he does, and what he says is important. It molds who you are and what you believe.
Fathers are to be the spiritual heads of the household. They are to hand on the faith they learned from their father before them. They are to teach their children to pray by praying themselves. They are to teach their children to read and study the Scriptures by reading and studying the Scriptures themselves. They are to teach their children to confess their sins and receive absolution, that is forgiveness, by confessing their sins and receiving absolution themselves. They are to teach their children to receive the holy things of God the Father by receiving these things themselves. They are to discipline their children, not provoking them to anger or provoking them to become disheartened so as to lose motivation, but to bring them up in the way of the Lord, in an education that is founded in the Lord, that is inspired and moved by the Lord, that is focused on the Lord, and that is appropriate to the Lord. Fathers are important. They teach sons how to be men, and they teach daughters how men are love women, they teach them to be loved by a man, and what kind of man to look for in a husband.
But this has gone out of style. Nowadays, fathers and mothers are interchangeable parts. Men and women are interchangeable parts. And if truth be told, the major theme that runs in today's discourse on fathers and mothers, men and women, is that whatever a man can do a woman can do better. Or whatever a father can do a mother can do better. Or whatever a husband can do a wife can do better. This is false and destructive. False, not because the opposite is true. False and destructive because man and woman, fathers and mothers, husbands and wives are not in competition. They are complementary. They are created for each other, to be together, to love and support each other. And by pitting man against woman, husband against wife, and father against mother, we have separated what God has joined together. We pervert God's good order created to bless us for the prevailing thoughts and feelings of our day.
This is the culture in which we live. But it is also the culture of which we are a product. It is our culture. We are a part of it. And so our thoughts and feelings are affected by it. Which of us doesn't either cringe or get a little uncomfortable when we hear passages from the Scriptures like: "Wives submit to your husbands" or "I do not permit a woman to have authority over a man" or "your desire will be for your husband and he will rule over you"? The fact that this strikes us as old and outdated shows that we think and see things in the same way our culture thinks and see things. It demonstrates who we are and who our father is. For the culture and its prevailing thoughts have become our father. And it is destroying our families and our relationships with one another. But most of all, it is destroying the church. For when the church thinks and acts like the culture of the world, Satan has won.
For this we need to repent. We need to confess that we have listened more to our culture than to the Word of God our heavenly Father as it is revealed in the Scriptures. God's good order is not misogynistic. God's order is instituted to bless us. His order says nothing of superiority or inferiority. To say a father is to be over his children means that a father is to bless them by teaching, by disciplining, and by loving. To say that a husband is to be the head of his house, and that a wife is to subordinate herself to her husband, does not say that he is better than she is or that she is less than he is. It is to say that the husband is to bless his wife with his sacrificial love. That he is to give everything, even his own life, for her, and she out of respect for him is to receive this love with thanksgiving. To reject this order, God's good order, is to reject His blessing.
And this is why Christ came. This is why we, like Abraham, are to rejoice. For Christ re-establishes this order in His incarnation, death, and resurrection. He re-constitutes this order so that we may receive God the Father's blessing to us and for us. In becoming man, Christ subordinates Himself and His will to the will of His Father. And He does it for the sake of His Bride, the Church. In obedience to His Father, He loves us, His Bride. This love is a sacrificial love. By the giving of Himself to die on the cross for sins He did not commit He loved us so that we would be free from the Law's condemnation and death's wages. He does it willingly. He does it for our sake, so that we would be reconciled to the Father as His children and reconciled to one another to live within the order that blesses us all. In Christ, death is overcome by life, sin by righteousness, hatred by love, darkness by light, and chaos by order.
So who will our father be? Will it be the culture or will it be God? Will it be the good order that the Father established from the beginning, or will it be our own self-seeking order? Will we live as children in the Father's house, blessed with His good order and with the truth? Or will we live under a subversion of that order, an order that is both false and destructive to us?
Who's your daddy? The Lord is. He created you. He sustains you. He redeemed you. He loves you. He teaches you to pray. He gives you His Word and He blesses and sanctifies you with the Sacraments. He feeds both body and soul. He chastens and He heals. And He will never leave you or forsake you. Nothing will come between your heavenly Father's love for you in Christ Jesus. God is your Father. You are his Children and the holy Bride of Christ. Fathers are important. So are husbands. Let us then subordinate ourselves to one another out of reverence for Christ.