Thursday, December 19, 2019

19. ..who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will man, but of God.

John’s Gospel speaks of the need for us to be born again (John 3.3.) if we are to live as the children of God we are meant to be.  John is clear, though, that this status isn’t anything to do with our physical birth – “not by blood or of the will of the flesh of the will of man”. It doesn’t matter who your biological parents are or what ethnic group you come from. God makes a family for himself. The Gospels often sit very light to what we might think of as “traditional family values”. Jesus’ own birth is surrounded by scandal and mystery; Mary isn’t married to Joseph when she conceives him. When he grows up, instead of marrying, fathering children, and looking after his mother as a “good” son should, Jesus goes off preaching and teaching, stirring up trouble which could rebound on all the family. He gathers a group of disciples around him, a rag-tag bunch of men and women from all walks of life, and welcomes followers who others might regard as outcasts. It did not fit the model of family life in his time, and it doesn’t fit it now either. The church he founded saw itself as a new family, gathered together by God, in which all were brothers and sisters to each other, across the divides of gender, ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds. Whoever had given them life physically, it was God which gave them life spiritually, binding them together in his love.

Have you ever felt yourself to be on the “outside” of your family , friendship group or social circle? What did it feel like?
Have you ever had to make a decision which put you at odds with your family or friendship group? What happened and what did it feel like?
The Bible says that we are made in the image of God. How can you show God’s likeness to others?

Make a badge or a sign saying “I am a child of God”. Think about what it means to you.

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