A New Family.
Matthew 12:46-50; Mark 3:31-35; Luke 8:19-21
“Anyone who does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.” – Matthew 12:50 NLT
Jesus had a family. He had a mother and step-father. He had brothers and sisters. And He cared for them deeply. Yet in this passage it would be easy to conclude that Jesus had a less-than-expected love for His family based on His seemingly callous statements. But Jesus is making a statement about the Kingdom He had come to establish. In His spiritual realm, there would be new relationships forged that would be as important and binding as those of flesh-and-blood family. In accepting Jesus Christ as Savior, an individual becomes part of a much larger family or community, made up of all believers – of every language and culture. This new family expands the sphere of relationships and increases our responsibilities to include all those who share a common belief in Christ. It does not negate our love for or responsibility to our earthly parents or siblings. No, Jesus is saying that, as believers, we become part of a much larger family – the family of God.
In that new family there will be personality conflicts and relational issues. There will be the occasional disagreement or fight. At times, one of our new brothers or sisters will hurt or offend us. And we will do our fair share of hurting as well. But God has placed us in this new family so that we might live experience the oneness and unity He, Christ and the Holy Spirit enjoy. He has called us to live in unity and love. We are called to use the fruit of the Spirit – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness and self-control – in the context of our new family. We are commanded to love one another, pray for one another, bear one another’s burdens, serve one another, be patient with one another and more. In his letter to the church at Ephesus, Paul tells them, “You are citizens along with all of God’s holy people. You are members of God’s family. Together, we are his house, built on the foundation of the apostles and the prophets. And the cornerstone is Christ Jesus himself. We are carefully joined together in him, becoming a holy temple for the Lord. Through him you Gentiles are also being made part of this dwelling where God lives by his Spirit” (Ephesians 2:19-22 NLT).
We are to love our mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters. But we are also called to love our spiritual family. It is within the context of our new family that the power of God is revealed as we live in close community with those with whom we have little in common except our common love for the Lord. Paul went on to beg the Ephesians “to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God. Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace. For there is one body and one Spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future” (Ephesians 4:1-4 NLT).
We are members of God’s family. An amazing concept to grasp. But what a difference it will make when we do.
Father, thank You for my earthly, physical family. They are a blessing to me. But thank You also for placing me in Your family. Help me to see my brothers and sisters in the family of God the way You do. Help me to view them with the same love and affection You feel for them. Expand my love to include my expanded family. Amen.
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men