In the name of the Father and of the +Son and of the Holy Spirit, Amen.
For fathers have authority over their progeny. For good or ill they hold sway over their children: what they will hear and what they aren’t willing to hear is a legacy, a memorial built in their lives by their fathers. Don’t discount mothers in that equation, mothers have profound impact on children too, but in spiritual matters statistics have shown that fathers have a deeper and greater impact than mothers do. And should this surprise us? This is what the Scriptures speak of when they call fathers to teach their children in the way they should go, when they name men the spiritual head of the household. Men have a profound and lasting impact, for good or for ill. So don’t vacate that role men! Don’t give up on it either, even if your children are grown. Don’t just hand it over to your wives, or your mothers, thinking that they know more about that stuff than you do, or that they’ll communicate it better. For your behaviour, your actions, your example speak volumes. And those volumes are books that will be read for decades after by your children, especially by your male sons when they are out of your home. Whatever you want to see in your children you must model for them. Teach by example. The way you want them to treat their mothers, their wives, women in general, their families, all people, let alone their God, you must model for them. Your example teaches it to them. You fathers make the mould. And that means you can break the mould too. God has given you this authority. And He holds you accountable for what you do with that authority. So repent of failing, of not doing what you can do, of not being the man you want to be for your children, of not taking up the spiritual leadership of your family. Or if you have done your best, repent of being a sinner, of missing the mark, of not treating spouse, your parents, your children as you ought, of teaching and planting sinful patterns and habits into your kids.
Repent and pray. Ask for grace and mercy. If the job of raising your kids is already done ask for grace that covers over your sins and blots out their effects in your children’s lives. If the job of raising and forming your kids is ongoing ask for mercy on your sins, and strength to be the godly father God made you to be.
For if we do not repent of our sins, things only spiral down from here. If you vacate the role of spiritual father to your children Satan seeks to take over your authority and your children’s next step is not only unbelief but blasphemy against God Almighty.
When the unbelieving Jews of our Lord’s day couldn’t argue with what He said they attacked Him! We call is an ad hominem attack, which is Latin "for to the man". When you can’t argue with your opponent you knock down the man so that anything he says gets invalidated. That’s what we call dirty politics, or attack ads in our day. It’s when you don’t actually deal with a man’s policies and record, but you try to slander and ham-string the man completely ignoring the truths the man speaks. Usually you do that because you can’t argue with what they say. The Jews who opposed Our Lord couldn’t so they attacked Him. “Are we not right in saying you are a Samaritan and have a demon?” They weren’t looking for Him to respond to their accusations. They wanted to silence Him. And stop of the ears of any who would hear Him with their lies. So they went for the age old attack: You are an outsider, a half-blood, a dirty good-for-nothing. That’s what "Samaritan" meant to Jews. You have no right to speak here, what you say comes from Satan. The miracles you perform are from Satan. You have no power. No right.
Their desperately barrage of lies shows they’ve already lost the debate. This is their last ditch attempt, their desperate Hail Mary pass for the win. To discredit Him. In reality He is a full-blooded Jew, not a mixed-blood Samaritan as they accused. Their attacks against His person were lies. There was no truth in them. For they were speaking their father’s language of lies. Meanwhile, the Lord can only speak His Father’s language, the truth. He doesn’t know any other way of speaking. He is God. He is His Father’s Son. He can’t speak anything but truth.
Even the difficult to comprehend truth that as God He was around before Abraham must be spoken when the truth is under attack. Abraham literally saw our Lord with His own two eyes. For our eternal Saviour was the angel who stayed Abraham’s hand on the mountain. He is the One who provided a ram to sacrifice. He gave Abraham his son back from the dead by providing a substitute. For Our Lord came to be the substitute not just for Isaac, but for all the sons of promise whom Our Father calls in Holy Baptism. We are sons of the father below, until called by our Heavenly Father through His Word of promise. His Son, your Saviour, is your substitute. He takes the death your sins owe. His suffering pays for your sins. His righteousness covers over your failures and fills in the holes that your sins of not doing what you should leave in people’s lives. He pays your debts, consolidates and assumes all your bad loans, with one mighty stroke of a pen dipped in His own blood. “It is finished,” He cried from the cross. That means you. Your salvation is completed. Everything is transacted to set you free and make you His in Holy Baptism.
So pray. For the salvation of all mankind is accomplished, but many reject it. Pray that the Holy Spirit have mercy on unbelieving hearts. Pray that He calls them to repentance and gives them the gift of coming to their senses, turning from their father below with His lies, lusts, murder, and hates to the Father above with His healing truth and mercy for their sins. For He has already had mercy on them in giving His Son. Pray that they have their ears opened, so that they can hear His voice and believe His salvation of them, and become His children.
In +Jesus’ name, Amen.
---Pastor David Haberstock
Epiphany Lutheran Church
Thunder Bay, ON