We have all seen children who look like their parents. And not just look like but share character traits, even habits. It’s all a question of genes passed from one generation to the next.
And when all is said and done, the over-riding consideration is not that we are all totally different according to individual family likeness, but that we all share the same likeness as one human family.
Children will look like their parents, and often like their brothers and sisters. Particular character traits and physical looks which I saw in my grandparents I have seen manifested in one of my daughters and in one of my sister’s children.
Both substance and appearance are ‘handed down’.
Jesus Christ claimed to be God’s son.
That’s an extremely serious suggestion. One such reference can be found in chapter 5 of John’s Gospel account.
It provoked the anger of the Jews. Understandably, because they have always believed in God as a single, unique Being.
And since the 6th Century Jews have been joined by the believers in another monotheistic religion which now has millions of adherents around the world.
That religion also takes issue, serious issue, with the claim of Jesus Christ to be God.
Such a claim is therefore very serious indeed.
If this claim is true then, we should expect the character of God to be manifest in Christ and in his teaching. The person should demonstrate godlike character, indeed godlike power and authority.
And certainly the miracles Jesus is recorded as performing have that remarkable quality. Who but God could raise people from the dead or make 5 loaves and two small fish feed 5000 people with many times the original quantity left over ?
But the most powerful demonstration of Christ being God is that he chose to die on a cross at the hands of mere men to make the point about God’s love for us.
What’s more, he is recorded as being seen by more than 500 people after rising from the dead.
Claiming to be God’s Son, and therefore like God and sharing God’s very substance and nature, Jesus Christ chose to suffer himself, showing an example to his persecutors.
As God, he could have destroyed them instantly. But he claims to be like God, and to do God’s will, and to teach God’s ways to men.
Of all the qualities and power of God, Christ dramatically emphasised LOVE by dying on the cross.
He suffers and endures the hatred of men, refusing to react like any mortal man by becoming angry, hitting back, even killing his enemies.
He refuses to destroy and insists on loving his enemies.
We all know that hate begets hate, but that forgiveness can break the spiral of hate. Hatred certainly won’t. Only forgiveness has any hope of doing that.
The conscious decision to take the hate but not respond in kind. To demonstrate the quality of God’s love, not man’s hate.
The Christian God loves mankind – a sinful, self destructive mankind. And those who become his children by the agency of the Holy Spirit become partakers of his nature, capable of doing as Christ did at the Cross.
Suffer agony, not inflict it.
They choose to live according to the life of God in them, and not according to the natural life of self preservation, self elevation and self interest.
They choose to be identified with the God of Jesus Christ; they choose to be identified with his manifest love. As partaking of the nature of God, they choose to be seen as members of the family of God.
God’s sons and God’s daughters.