Daniel 3 (selected verses); John 8.31-42
“Our father is Abraham” Jesus’ listeners insisted. Before Judaism is a religion it is a family, an ancestry. Like other identifications, being a child (a descendant) of Abraham can occasion snobbery and superciliousness. The most difficult task for the early Church was overcoming the customary animosity between Abraham’s heirs and the Gentiles, their term for everyone else.
Yet when pressed Jesus’ audience declared “We have one father: God.” Relationship with God transcends ties of kindred and affinity; indeed that very relationship makes possible what John the Baptist proclaimed by the Jordan River, that “God is able to raise sons for Abraham from these stones.” [Luke 3.8-9]
We are—or most of us are—those transformed stones, adopted children brought into a family not naturally our own. Alongside Abraham’s children, we are freed from slavery to the whims of this world’s tyrants and oppressors. [Galatians 3.7-14] As Israel found, though, we only experience real freedom when we have shackled ourselves to the demands of the only God.