Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Who is our real family?

"Mary seeks her son" - Max Furst
TODAY'S SPECIAL: Mark 3:20-35

TO CHEW ON: "And He looked around in a circle at those who sat about Him and said, 'Here are My Mother and My brothers! For whoever does the will of God is My brother and My sister and mother.'" Mark 3:34,35

Some of life's deepest hurts can come from people in our family. The people we're closest to genetically and in living arrangement, who we're supposed to love and who are supposed to love, us can really cut our souls with words, actions or non-actions.

Here Jesus is misunderstood by His family: "'His own people.' The Greek expression may well denote Jesus' immediately family (Mark 3:31" - J. Lyle Story in the notes on Mark, New Spirit Filled Life Bible, p. 1354.

One gets the sense that they were embarrassed by His publicity and the controversy He caused. Afraid that He had 'lost it,' they came to take Him in hand to preserve peace with the Jewish leaders and the family's reputation.

Jesus did not let them silence Him. Rather, He repudiated their claim on Him, saying to the disciples who surrounded Him, "For whoever does the will of God is My brother, and My sister and mother" - Mark 3:35.

The reality of spiritual family permeates the Bible.
  • Jesus felt a kinship with His heavenly family from his early days. At twelve years of age, He stayed behind in the Jerusalem temple and said, when Mary and Joseph (his earthly dad) finally found Him: "Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father's business?" - Luke 2:49.
  • Paul, in his letters to the churches uses family terms like "brethren" (1 Corinthians 1:10; Galatians 1:2; Colossians 1:2 etc.), "children of God" (Romans 8:16,21), "sons of God" (Galatians 3:26). So does John (1 John 3:10; 5:2).
  • The writer of Hebrews talks of believers, though imperfect ("those who are being sanctified") as Jesus' brothers (Hebrews 2:11) and explains that one reason Jesus came in the flesh was to be like us "His brethren" in order to understand us and aid us in overcoming temptation (Hebrews 2:17,18).
  • Perhaps the most comforting Bible promise in this regard is expressed by David:
"When my father and my mother forsake me  / Then the Lord will take care of me." - Psalm 27:10

So let's remember, if our earthly family has shunned us, we are not family-less. Let's acknowledge and nurture our family-of-God relationships, finding in them what we never can in those relatives whose ties lack the spiritual gene.

PRAYER: Dear God, it hurts to be misunderstood by family members—those people from whom I expect to get sympathy, love, and understanding. When barriers come as a result of my allegiance to You, help me to find a family and be a family to other Christian brothers and sisters. Amen.

MORE: Brothers and sisters

"God takes very seriously the truth that all his children are brothers and sisters. They all have one Father, one homeland. And God says, there is a way that my children should feel about each other. Not just act toward each other, but feel about each other. They are to be tenderly affectionate toward each other. Why? Because this testifies to the reality of the family of God. To feel hard toward each other, to feel indifferent or narrow, not to mention bitter and resentful, toward each other, contradicts who God is and who we are. God is our father and we are his children and we are brothers and sisters in one family with the deepest common values in the universe." - By John Piper in ""Love One Another With Tender Affection," ©2012 Desiring God Foundation. Website:

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