What’s with that title?
If you lived through the 1990’s and 2000’s, there was a phrase that started to pick up steam for some reason or another. The phrase was, “Who’s your daddy?!” Now unless you don’t understand when people are being facetious, you would understand that they are not asking you who your male parental unit is.
- “Who’s your daddy?!” is a jeering Insult used to “put someone in their place.”
If you like silly movies, Danna Carvey once made a slapstick film that’s mildly family friendly called “Master of Disguise.” In that movie his character learns to be a type of independent spy by wearing disguises and really becoming another person. He did receive some combat training from his grandfather. His grandpa told him to demoralize his opponent, slap their face and shout, “Who’s your daddy?!” The practice dummy slapped Dana more than he did it.
So if gathering information about someone’s paternal lineage is not the purpose of that question, then what does it seek to achieve? When saying “Who’s your daddy!?” to someone…
- The idea behind it is: “You’re not the most powerful or strongest person. Your father has the Power and authority over you.”
Without spoiling too much, It’s not just that the person receiving the insult is less powerful, it’s the one saying it is “the daddy.” They might say, “Yeah I’m more powerful than you, son!” It’s not very nice, but it is what is happening in this very normal thing that people would shout during sporting events or maybe video games.
[If you’d like to listen to the audio recording, click on the Spotify player at the bottom of this blog post.]
Now with that in mind, let’s join “Just Chatting with Jesus” already in progress… John 8:31-47
31 To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. 32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
33 They answered him, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?”
34 Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. 35 Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. 36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. 37 I know that you are Abraham’s descendants. Yet you are looking for a way to kill me, because you have no room for my word. 38 I am telling you what I have seen in the Father’s presence, and you are doing what you have heard from your father.[b]”
39 “Abraham is our father,” they answered.
“If you were Abraham’s children,” said Jesus, “then you would[c] do what Abraham did. 40 As it is, you are looking for a way to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. Abraham did not do such things. 41 You are doing the works of your own father.”
“We are not illegitimate children,” they protested. “The only Father we have is God himself.”
42 Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I have come here from God. I have not come on my own; God sent me. 43 Why is my language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say. 44 You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. 45 Yet because I tell the truth, you do not believe me! 46 Can any of you prove me guilty of sin? If I am telling the truth, why don’t you believe me? 47 Whoever belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God.”John 8:31-47 NIV
God is Jesus’ Father
Now this isn’t the first thing that’s covered in this passage. It comes up in verse 42
“If God were your Father, you would love me, for I have come here from God. I have not come on my own; God sent me.”
However he introduces this concept much earlier, in verse 28b.
“…I do nothing on my own but speak just what the Father has taught me.”John 8:28b NIV
Jesus here is speaking plainly but those who won’t get it…won’t get it. It’s like the whole parable thing all over again, “The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God.”
This isn’t the only place where it talks about Jesus being the son of God. In Matthew’s gospel account, Jesus is baptized and something amazing happens.
16As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. 17And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” (Matt 3:16-17 NIV)
- Even the Spirit of God was letting people know this was his son, Jesus.
Further back than even that, Jesus was aware of who his father was. He knew his daddy. He was 12 years old and everyone made the journey to Jerusalem for the festival of the Passover. Everyone started to leave when it was all over. Mary and Joseph thought Jesus was walking home with other family members, but after 3 days of no sign of him…they high tail it back to Jerusalem. They find him in the temple, sitting with the teachers.
48 When his parents saw him, they were astonished. His mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you.”
49 “Why were you searching for me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?”Luke 2 :48-39 NIV
- So even in the face of being grounded by Mary and Joseph, Jesus recognized God was his father.
Jews: Abraham is our father – descendants
So if we are comparing parentage, Jesus has got a pretty good father figure. God of the Universe. Sustainer of all life. Alpha and Omega. And he’s not the only one who’s said it. The Spirit and others around him testified to this. So what’s the deal with Jesus’ audience in John 8?
You know, the people that he originally said all this to?
Verse 31 starts out:
“To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said…”
They first start believing in him in the previous passage, which makes their reactions to what Jesus says in this one, all the more strange. John 8:28-30:
“When you have lifted up[a] the Son of Man, then you will know that I am he and that I do nothing on my own but speak just what the Father has taught me. 29 The one who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone, for I always do what pleases him.” 30 Even as he spoke, many believed in him.
In this passage it seems they are believing in his case as the Son of Man, or special sent one of God. But all of a sudden, Jesus brings up their needs and they snap back at him.
- Real disciples hold to my teachings, says Jesus. Verse 32-33, he continues…
32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
33 They answered him, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?”
Jesus didn’t ask them who’s descendants they were. He didn’t ask them “who’s your daddy?” He simply made an authoritative observation. They were in need of being set free. He recognized it, whether they did or not.
34 Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. 35 Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. 36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.
Again, they must have felt insulted! Is he saying we are slaves? Saying they were sinners! How dare he! Who does he think he is? (oh yeah, Son of God. Messiah.)
- Jews: No need for the son to set us free, we were never Slaves!
Now he’s telling us, “what [he’s] seen in the Father’s presence, and [that we] are doing what [we] have heard from [our] father.”
So they were probably grasping at straws with this witty comeback, but they say it nonetheless. “Abraham is our father.”
Have you heard that children’s song: “Father Abraham?” Maybe you’re familiar. Oh you know you want a demonstration, right? (Do the first couple of verses)
And it ends with combining all these goofy movements as the leader (myself) guides you to do.
- If we are doing what we “hear” from our father…it’s what Abraham would do. That’s what the Jew responding to Jesus’ correction were saying.
And just like the silly motions in “Father Abraham,” It’s hard to match the leader 100% of the time. They couldn’t match Abraham if they tried…and Jesus knew they were not trying.
“If you were Abraham’s children,” said Jesus, “then you would do what Abraham did.”(John 8:39b NIV)
Right Arm, Left Arm, Right Foot, Left Foot, nod your head, turn around… Did they do what Abraham did? Nope. They probably wouldn’t have done the silly song, even if Abraham himself had led it. But in this particular situation….
Jesus mentions that Abraham was not likely to try to kill Him, unlike his audience.
Who’s our daddy? Abraham…of course. We just went over this! We are Abraham’s descendants there for he is our forefather. The Father that came before us all!
Jesus catches them with this paradox: If you are the child of a particular father…you would do what he did, and said to do. (back up in verse 28, Jesus explains how his father son relationship works – “…I do nothing on my own but speak just what the Father has taught me.”
Anyone who’s ever raised a child or hung out with parents and children can see this is a real thing. As your young one is learning how to control basic functions, they will go through a phase where they mimic those they are most around. Whether that is a parent or a TV character.
For us, we would hear the girls playing in their play room and they were playing house or school, if we didn’t like the tone they were taking with each other as they role-played as a parent or teacher…we would consider what they were hearing from us. This usually made us ever more aware of what we said and how we treated each other in our family.
—Any way, back to Jesus –
He hears what HIS father says and does what HIS father does. The Jews Jesus is talking to did not, in Jesus’ observation, do as Abraham did or said to do.
What did Abraham do?
- Left his father’s home country and believed in faith that God would show him where to go. Essentially He put his full trust in God and obeyed God’s leading for his life.
- He was so obedient that he was willing to sacrifice his son, Isaac on a mountain.
- Abraham wasn’t a perfect person, but usually when referenced in the New Testament, his saving faith takes center stage.
So Far in this message, we’ve got TWO Dads. God, Jesus’ heavenly father…and who ever is the “father” these Jews that Jesus is talking to. The Jews say it’s Abraham, But Jesus is not convinced. “You sure don’t act like Abraham’s kids…” You’re acting and behaving the way your father wants you to.
So if Abraham is not their “daddy” then who is?
We mean…God is our father – Spiritual
‘Um, did we say Abraham? Our spiritual, more important one is that God is our Father.’
They actually just finished arguing with Jesus for several verses, trying to convince Him they are part of the Abrahamic promise and then they shift gears,
“We are not illegitimate children,” they protested. “The only Father we have is God himself.”John 8:41b NIV
It’s interesting, They have been saying that Abraham is their father. “Look at my biological pedigree. I’m A Hebrew from the line traceable all the way back to Abraham. The promise that God made to him is for me too.” But now they play “The God Card.”
Who’s my daddy? Who do I answer to? It’s the same one who Abraham answered to: Yahweh. The Lord God.
Have you ever met someone who was “super spiritual?” It’s not that they talk about Jesus and Heaven and stuff all the time…that’s not the problem. The problem is you suspect it’s a show. They are not any deeper in the Holy Spirit than a puddle outside. These Jews were looking for the end all be all answer to Jesus’ accusations. The big problem is that Jesus didn’t agree. Jesus strongly tells them who their daddy is:
44 You belong to your father, the DEVIL, and you want to carry out your father’s desires.John 8:44a NIV
How offended would you be if someone looked at you, your motivations, your actions, your desires to destroy someone…and said “Your daddy is the DEVIL!”
Personally I would take the high road and respond with the age old chestnut of wisdom: “Is not!!!” “Perhaps the lesser known retort: “So’s your face!”
So maybe I’m not as mature as I look.
Jesus doesn’t give the Jews much time to respond. He keeps laying into them on this point.
“He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” (John 8:44b NIV)
So not only is he the father of you, but he is the father of lies. Murder is his game and his name is Satan. Murder or at least attempted murder was what Jesus called these Jews out for earlier. Murder or murderous desires come from the heart. Their hearts were not right. Their motives were not right. It all stemmed from who their father really was.
You’ve probably heard of a paternity test before. It’s a medical test that allows a scientist to determine if a particular man is the father. But, it takes more than DNA to be a Dad. Just because you fathered a child, doesn’t make you a dad.
Genetics, family tree – These are the Biological realities of being a father. Being able to pass on your name to your kids, maybe even your amazing hairline if you’re lucky!
But the most important thing that makes a guy a father is when he takes part in guiding his children to grow up to value certain things, things the father cares about. To not only value those things, like Faith, respect, hard work, the sharing of Jesus’ love with the World…but also mimicking those values…living them out. Jesus said it best to these believing …yet unbelieving Jews:
47 Whoever belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God.”
If you belong to God, if he is your father…then you hear what God says.
- And he says: Love Jesus, the one with the message.
This section of the scripture reminded me of John 1:12-13.
“12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.”
This is the Paternity Test. Are you born of God? The people Jesus was talking to in John 8 were not yet born of God or as Jesus explained…they would understand what he was talking about.
So who’s your daddy? You might say your earthly father’s name. You might think of someone who was a role model and influenced you in life to be a better person. They passed along values and skills to you. But ultimately, I hope we can come to the conclusion that God is our father.
He isn’t our father just because we say so. Or because we say a particular prayer. Because we rub prayer beads, meditate or go to confession. He is our father because we are born again in Him, through the Spirit.
As we conclude our time together, I want to play a song for you called “Good, Good father.” You have the lyrics. I want you to simply reflect on God’s fatherly goodness today and how that should shape how you live.