Mark 3:31-35; Matthew 12:46-50; Luke 8:19-21 JESUS' MOTHERS AND BROTHERS
Mary and Jesus's brothers came where Jesus was preaching and sent word to Him that they were there so they could get closer to Jesus. By their action of expecting special privileges, they let us know that, although they knew who Jesus was as Mary had been told before He was even born, they still did not fully understand all that there is to know about Jesus. I do not full understand all there is to know about Jesus, so I continue to read and re-read about Jesus until He calls me home.
Jesus used this as a teaching moment. He said, "Who are my mother and my brothers?
Here are my mother and my brothers! For whoever does the will of God, he is my brother and sister and mother." Luke 8:21 "My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and do it."
Jesus looks carefully at his audience and includes them in His family. Jesus was inclusive. No judging, period, end of story. I pray that God help me to see everyone as inclusive as He does, and to help me to take care of others in my spiritual family. I always desire to care for them, but most often do not make the effort to learn what their needs are. I need His help to open my eyes. May I not judge ones needs, but accept and help.
These words of Jesus are why we call other Christians our "brothers-in-Christ" or "sisters-in-Christ." Jesus indicated that the relationships in our spiritual families are important, just as our natural families are important. One family is not more important than another family. They are equal.
Not only am I brothers and sisters in Christ, but I am a child of God. God, the Father, who has inherited us all, is the one who gives us the relationship of brothers and sisters. That is why we say "in Christ." Those who are "in Christ" have a special binding together. We cannot pick and choose our natural family any more than we can pick and choose our spiritual family. God is the one that chooses them. I should respect what Christ chooses and work on those relationships, rather than to throw them away and seek for something that may be better in my own mind. This would be thinking that I know better than God knows. God gave these people and relationships to me and I treasure His gift. In current society trends, we often hear that for our own sake and emotional health, we should stay away from "toxic" people. This is so much against God's loving way and really upsets me. Throwing people away that God has put into your life just because the relationship is difficult only serves to hurt people. God put these people in my life and I am going to make every effort to love them as Christ loves them. I am not going to give up on them.
Do I spend as much time and invest as much energy with my church fellowship as I do with my friends and family?
I love how Luke's version puts it so to the point of "do it." It makes me think of the Nike swish commercial of "just do it." Stop talking about it and just do it! Stop complaining! Let's be do-ers! We can hear the word of God and study it and discuss it so much that we forget to get out there and do what He says.
We are either inside or outside, and there is no middle ground. We are either believers or non-believers. In 1 Corinthians 5:12, Paul chastised the Corinthians for judging non-believers. God judges outsiders. We are charged to hold other "insiders" accountable for their behavior. We should always approach non-believers (outsiders) with nothing but love because if we judge them, we lose our influence. When Jesus ate with the sinners in Chapter 2, He showed that He did not require repentance from sinners to be a precondition for His love and acceptance of them.
We sing this song in church, everyone holding hands:
Brothers & Sisters in Christ (Words & Music by Terry Dittmer)
Sing Alleluia! Amen!
Let your prayers and your praises ascend.
Lift up your voices and sing to our Lord God, our Savior, our King!
Here brought together by grace, we are gathered as friends in this place.
And assembled as one, in the name of the Son,
lifting hearts, lifting hands, celebrating as friends,
and proclaiming the Lord, all our praises afford.
We are brothers and sisters in Christ.
Man walked alone and in need,
without faith, hope or promise or creed;
wandering aimlessly lost unaware of the staggering cost;
that God in his mercy would save all his people from death and the grave.
Lord, teach us how to proclaim
all your goodness, your love and your name!
Lord, teach us how to forgive, and in love, teach us Lord, how to live.
Raising our voices in song, help us tell all the world we belong.