…For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother. – Jesus of Nazareth
Imagine one of your best buddies told you that your mom was outside and needed to talk to you. I don’t know about you, but if I replied to my friend by saying, “Who is my mother?” I would be slapped back to the third grade by my mom. If I were then to proceed to point at one of my buddies and say, “He is my mom,” I would then be slapped back to Kindergarten. In addition to this, I would lose all of my friends because they’d think I was crazy.
Jesus, however, has a way of teaching that exceeds expectations and shatters norms. In Mark 3:20-34, Jesus teaches that our common allegiance to God is more unifying than the physical features or the last name we may share with another person.
It hurts a little bit to read these scriptures as it can appear that Jesus, our Lord, is being blatantly disrespectful to his biological family. But is Jesus being disrespectful here? It may seem that way to us as we read this now, but if we look at the life of Jesus, we know that he isn’t a disrespectful person. The focus of this scripture isn’t on Jesus’ treatment of his biological family. So what is going on here? Jesus is taking this moment as an opportunity to teach about the family of God.
Here is the question: what is Jesus trying to teach his listeners about the family of God? In short, being part of the family of God means that our allegiance is always to God first.
Jesus is taking an opportunity to discuss a more important truth: who are the members of the family of God? By this time Jesus has gathered around him many followers from many different walks of life and from many different biological families. In contrast to his biological family, the people in these crowds likely have no significant biological relationship to Jesus. Yet who does Jesus refer to as his family members? In a great surprise to everyone present, Jesus looks at those seated around him in the crowds and refers to them (not to his biological family members) as his “brother and sister and mother.” Jesus is referring to his new family, a spiritual family. Jesus makes it clear that his allegiance is to this spiritual family rather than his biological one.
Who are the members of this family? “… whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.” The incredible thing about this family that Jesus describes: it can include us too! He also makes it clear what we must do in order to be part of the family of God: we must do the will of God.
If you leave this blog with anything, leave it with this: being part of the family of God means that our allegiance is always to God first. To be part of this family, we must do the will of God.