Sometimes in nature, though rarely, a young animal will lose its parent and, miraculously, another animal will raise that young as its own. To relate, God is the foundation of our faith. It is by and through him that we have life, and no one can come to the father except through his son Jesus, God in the flesh.

But as we see in John 8, the Jews have taken another as their father, just like that young animal.

“My Father, whom you claim as your God, is the one who glorifies me. Though you do not know him, I know him. If I said I did not, I would be a liar like you, but I do know him and obey his word. Your father Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing my day; he saw it and was glad.”
— John 8:54-56

In this passage, Jesus is calling out the Jews for missing the mark in their faith. They’ve begun to see Abraham as the center of what they believe and as their father, yet in it all, completely miss how all along it was God — the true Father — working in Abraham.

This relates to an issue I think Christians are used to hearing: we make our faith mundane, we go through the motions, we make following Christ seem less like a desire and more like a duty, all while not truly seeing and engaging with God the father. But, as the Bible shows us, this isn’t a new issue — God’s people have been missing God for thousands of years.

“You are not yet fifty years old,” they said to him, “and you have seen Abraham!” “Very truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I am!”
— John 8:57-58

Continuing on from that passage, still the Jews cling to Abraham and his teaching, not grasping the reality that Jesus is God and that Jesus was present during the entirety of Abraham’s story, he just wasn’t yet in human form. In reality, it is through God the Father that Abraham ever became a key figure in scripture and it was Abraham himself who continually pointed back to God his praises, giving him glory. Jesus tries to point that out, saying Abraham himself rejoiced in response to the father God’s creation, but the Jews are misguided and can’t see how silly of an argument they’re making.

The crux of this situation, and how it applies to us, is that we must make sure that we are pursuing God first and foremost, and then allowing him to use his various prophets to help us understand him better. Reflect on your spiritual journey. Do you continually look to Christ as the author and perfecter of your faith, continually bringing all blessings, trials, sorrows and joys back to him? Or are you trying to live a life as Christ would but without ever actually seeking him? If we miss who our true father is, we miss the gospel.

I hope you are encouraged by the lesson we’re given in John 8, and I hope this helps you ensure who you’re looking to within your life.