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Lets take a look at Luke 8:19-21, which tells of a visit to Jesus by his mother and brothers. (The same story is also told in Mark 3:31-35.)
19"Now Jesus mother and brothers came to see him, but they were not able to get near him because of the crowd. 20Someone told him, Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to see you.
21He replied, My mother and brothers are those who hear God s word and put it into practice." (NIV)
Jesus was probably in someone s home, and had a large number of people crowded around him, listening to him teach. He was told that his mother and brothers were outside and wanted to see him. Anyone else on the planet would probably have told the crowd, "Hold on a minute, I ll be right back." But he did not interrupt what he was saying to the people; he didn t leave them to attend to the wishes of his family. He must have considered his listeners needs to be greater than his earthly familys, and he responded as written above.
It is appropriate that this event is related after the parable of the sower, because Jesus reaction to his family further explains how much Jesus values his followers hearing and doing the word of God. He says if you follow his teachings, you are in his family. You are more of a family member to him than his own earthly mother and brothers.
The story of the visit of Jesus family teaches us the value of obedience in a very powerful way. Think about it. Jesus mother was standing out there waiting to see him. She was the woman who gave birth to him, and on whom he depended and spent his entire childhood. Im sure he loved her enormously. His brothers also were probably his constant companions in his life up to that point. And yet, he says, it is the hearers and doers of the Word that are really his family. Thats us! We are more valuable to him than they are!
Now Jesus never said that his earthly family wasn t important. We know he was concerned about his mothers welfare, for example, even when he was on the cross.
26 "When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, Dear woman, here is your son, 27and to the disciple, Here is your mother. From that time on, this disciple took her into his home." (John 19:26-27 NIV)
This passage doesn t show any disrespect to Mary and her other sons. Jesus didn t say anything negative about them. We are not even told what their reaction was to being unable to see him. That is because the story isn t about them; it is about the meaning behind Jesus statement. The central point here is the high value Jesus places on his Christian family . The people who obey his words are in his spiritual family.
Now I am a family guy; I always have been. When I was young, it was my mother, father, brother, cousins, aunts, and uncles. Later, my wife and children moved to center stage. Still later grandchildren and my adult children s spouses entered the family unit. As wonderful as family is, it is not without faults. It is composed of imperfect people with the resultant flawed relationships, problems, and disappointments. Although our earthly families somewhat reflect the love of the family of God, they, of course, pale in comparison to being in His family.
Jesus shows in this passage how he feels about me and hopefully all of my family. I know the eternal reward that awaits us. That makes it a lot easier to put Him above everyone else in my life.
Jesus values us more than even his own earthly family. The special people to Jesus are not necessarily his relatives, his disciples, his villagers, or his national group. The family of God is made up of people from every ethnic group, every country, and every century. All that is required is faith, and to put the Word of God into practice in our lives. If we do that, we are - All in the Family.
"The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God s children." (Romans 8:16 NIV)