Who are the true family of Jesus and how are they characterized? What is the true connection between doing the Father’s will and being Jesus’ family?
But he replied to the man who told him, "Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?" And stretching out his hand toward 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 12:48-50
As the traditional roles and relationships within Western culture fade, Christ's question “Who is my mother and brothers?” probably doesn't strike us in the way that it flabbergasted the Eastern culture, where familial roles and traditions are nonnegotiable, where He uttered it.
Jesus is “not severing ties with his family,” even though they were likely attempting to stop his outlandish ministry which was bringing shame to their family, but to “declare in the starkest terms that the kingdom of heaven is greater than the strongest earthly ties” (Elwell, 737). Put another way, “the kingdom community is a royal family formed on the basis of heart loyalty to the King” (Howell, 131), in that obedience to the Father's will is the sign of being a member of God's family. Paul immediately picked up on this concept in his early letter to the Galatians, stating that through Christ's redeeming work we are adopted into God's family (Galatians 4:5), even to the point of being “co-heirs!” Christ's response even proposes the question whether church governance might be better to reflect family structures (as Paul and John refer to members of their church plants as their “children”) instead of those reflected by empires and businesses. Fortunately, Mary and Jesus' brothers eventually realized that Christ wasn't a lunatic or a liar, but their Lord, and thus that they must became part of Christ's family as opposed to Christ being a part of their family. We must do the same.
Brett Yardley: Warrior for Christ. Devoted Husband. Proud Father. Martial Artist. Hopeful Philosopher & Theologian. Aspiring Teacher & Writer.