Now Jesus’ mother and brothers came to see him, but they were not able to get near him because of the crowd. Someone told him, “Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to see you.” He replied, “My mother and brothers are those who hear God’s word and put it into practice.” Luke 8:19-21
When our Master came in flesh and blood, He did so as a part of a family. This was a crucial part of His experience as a human being, and we have no reason to think that His family relationships were in some way charmed or easy. We know from the Gospels that His brothers were hard on Him and failed to understand Him (John 7:1-9). In fact, Jesus’ special role as the Messiah and the Son of God made His family relationships even harder for Him! He Himself said that He found the least honor in His own hometown, with His own family, and in His own home (Mark 6:4).
As the One in whom all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are hidden (Colossians 2:3), He had to strike the very best balance between family loyalty and loyalty to His calling to God’s service. This is a difficult balance for most of us, and so the exchange quoted above is crucial for us to understand. We want to learn from Jesus how to view family in light of the new Kingdom reality that has invaded our world and our lives, so pay careful attention to what He said.
As He did what His Father in the heavens sent Him to do, teaching the people of Israel about the Kingdom of their God, Jesus’ family came seeking some personal time to talk. The way most of us view family, we would probably expect Him to make a great effort to accommodate them. “Family first!” is a slogan we’re familiar with, right? We hear, and perhaps even say ourselves, that “nothing’s more important than family.”
Does it surprise you, then, that Jesus made no move to see them? Does it bother you that He did not give preference to His own mother? He chose to stay with His devoted followers, and He spoke of them some of the most precious words that could be spoken. According to Mark’s account of this episode, Jesus asked who His mother and brothers were. Then, looking around at His disciples sitting around Him, He said, “Here are my mother and brothers!” (Mark 8:33-34). Those who valued God’s Word enough to listen intently to it and then obey it were Jesus’ truest family, for they shared something more fundamental to the eternal kingdom than a common ancestry: they shared a common love for Father.
However, you view your blood relatives, Disciple, consider carefully what your Master said about who His true mother, brothers, and sisters are. Do you cherish what you share with your fellow disciples more than any other relationships in your life? Do you see them as precious and make every effort to accomplish what’s best for them? Family is important, and we are to love our blood relatives deeply and sincerely, but we must come to agreement with our Master about this very important truth: we have the ultimate family bond with all who love our Father and His Son enough to seek out and submit to their Word.
May this day be a day of honoring and cherishing those disciples in your life with whom you share eternal family ties!
Loving you, the mothers, brothers, and sisters of the One I love,