Daily Dose, May 15 — Family of God

 

While he was still speaking to the crowds, his mother and his brothers were standing outside, wanting to speak to him. Someone told him, “Look, your mother and your brothers are standing outside, wanting to speak to you.”

But to the one who had told him this, Jesus replied, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” And pointing to his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.” (Matthew 12:46-50)

Take a moment and think back over your life. I don’t mean just the recent history; think WAY back. Think about who all the people were that nurtured you, cared for you, shaped you, guided you. Think about the various people through the years who showed you about love, mercy, grace, and forgiveness — even at times when you weren’t very deserving of those things. When you stop to do that, I imagine a number of people come to mind. Some of those people are likely family members — maybe even your mother and father — but others likely stand outside of your family circle. That’s certainly true for me.

We like to focus on the things that Jesus said that are warm and fuzzy, or that inspire immediate devotion. As a result, we sometimes shy away from some of the things Jesus said that have a sharper tone. The reading for today is one of those sayings of Jesus that can come across as harsh, unkind and maybe even unloving. I’ll admit that in the past I’ve skipped over these verses because they made me uncomfortable and I didn’t know what to do with them. I think I’m at a different place now, though. I think I have a better understanding at what Jesus is trying to get across.

There’s a saying that blood is thicker than water, but this isn’t necessarily true in God’s Kingdom. I think this is part of what Jesus is trying to communicate. We’re MOST united to one another when we reflect Christ to one another — when we “do the will of the Father.” When we do that, our family circle expands to include all sorts of people. I used to hear these words of Jesus and ask, “Why is he excluding his own family?” Read the verses again. Can you see that Jesus is actually including rather than excluding? His mother and brothers ARE blood relations, but they are ALSO all of those who seek to find God’s way in their lives.

We need our biological mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters. But we also need to be connected beyond that to SPIRITUAL mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters. This is the family of God. Can you see the faces of some of those people? — Rev. Brad Greene