The Family of God

“And stretching out His hand toward His disciples, He said: ‘Behold My mother and My brothers!'” (Matthew 12:49)

This passage is just one of many in the New Testament where Jesus turns the traditional values of this world upside-down.  Verse 47 says that while Jesus was speaking to the crowds, someone informed Him that His mother and brothers were outside seeking to speak to Him. Undoubtedly they thought that His flesh & blood relatives would have a special “inside” connection with the Lord — but Jesus’ words were surprising:

:49 says that Jesus stretched out His hand towards His disciples and said, “Behold My mother and My brothers!”  This is significant in a couple of ways:

— First, Jesus set forth the standard that there would be no “insider” position in the Kingdom of God based on family relationship. His Kingdom is not like earthly kingdoms, wherein power is passed on from father to son. “You must be born again” personally to enter His Kingdom.  Now, eventually scripture records that many from Jesus’ family DID end up embracing Him as Lord, and they played prominent roles in the early church. But it wasn’t based on their familial relationship to Christ, but upon their actual personal commitment and service to Him.  The same thing will be true for us. We won’t acquire a special place in God’s kingdom based on our family’s reputation or  “position” in the church, but on our own actual  love and service.

— Second, this passage reminds us that our closest relationships may not even be those of our own physical family, but those who do the will of God together with us. At the time of this incident, Jesus was probably “closer” to His disciples than He was to His own family. “Behold My mother and My brothers!”, Jesus said of His followers. He had more in  common with  those who were following Him than with those who were “related” to  Him physically, but who were further away from God spiritually. Many of us today find ourselves in similar circumstances. If you have a close walk with the Lord, you may well  find that those closest to you are those who share your Christian walk, not those who are merely related to you physically.

The truth is, when you become a follower of Jesus,  you are “born again” into a new family  — The  Family of  God.  Don’t be surprised if the people who will most closely share your heart are going to be those who are also a part of your new Kingdom  family.  In fact, embrace it.  When you go to church this week, look around you and echo Jesus’ words in your heart:”Behold my mother and my brothers!”

About Shawn Thomas

My blog, shawnethomas.com, provides brief devotions from own personal daily Bible reading, as well as some of my sermons, book reviews, and family life experiences.
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