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Advancing the Conversation of Jesus

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While He was still speaking to the crowds, behold, His mother and brothers were standing outside, seeking to speak to Him. Someone said to Him, “Behold, Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside seeking to speak to You.” But Jesus answered the one who was telling Him and said, “Who is My mother and who are My brothers?” And stretching out His hand toward His disciples, He said, “Behold My mother and My brothers! For whoever, does the will of My Father who is in heaven, he is My brother and sister and mother.” (Matthew 12:46-50)

For whatever reason Mary and the brothers of Jesus showed up and interrupted his speech to the crowds. Jesus took this opportunity to turn the situation into a most amazing teaching moment.

This is one of those moments in Jesus’ ministry that sizzles with intensity, drama, and significance. Jesus words would clearly be hurtful to his physical family that was already struggling to know how to understand his ministry. Also, these words would be freeing and empowering to those who had always felt left out of the political order, pushed aside by the religious elite and disenfranchised by the social structure of their day. Jesus was promising that his family would be determined by faith and obedience—not blood, not genealogy, not politics, not power, and not money. That offer still stands today and the promise is just as true for us as it was for those who first heard Jesus’ words.

So, we who trust Jesus and follow him (do the will of My Father) are family to him. We are the brothers and sisters of Jesus! Now wait just a minute! That means then that we are also related to one another. You see, this was the shock the disciples faced in the Upper Room experience when Jesus said that he had a new commandment for them that they should love one another as he loved them. The disciples had eagerly signed on to love and be loved by Jesus, the Messiah, but to love one another was altogether different! The disciples must have felt in their hearts, “Jesus, do you mean that I must love this former tax-collector, these fishing industry execs and workers, this one who not only puts his foot in his mouth but changes feet while talking, this doubter who can’t seem to make up his mind, this radical zealot who is filled with such anger toward the government, these brothers who are so impatient that they are continually bringing up suggestions for God to strike others with lightning, these New Testament ‘nobodies’? You want me to love them?”

In the kingdom we are family members with all of the similarities, differences and peculiarities of family. Jesus wants us to act like it! This fits in so well with what we keep teaching about hanging out with one another-eating, praying, studying and fellowshipping together—AS FAMILY!

 

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