Jesus replied to them, “Who are my mother and my brothers?” Looking at those sitting in a circle around him, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.” ~ Mark 3:33-35
When we come to Jesus, we find that he redefines family. Jesus was told that his mother and brothers were looking for him and his response was to say that those who belonged to God, doing his will, were his brother, sister, and mother. Here we find several realities about family:
First, our eternal family is our spiritual family. This was Jesus’ main point—since the promise he made to Abraham in Genesis 12, God has been setting aside a people for himself. Through Jesus, God’s people come from every background and ethnicity. But God isn’t simply creating one eternal nation out of many, no he’s also creating one eternal family out of many. We pray and we hope that our physical family is among them, but it’s God’s people, other followers of Jesus, with whom we will spend eternity.
Second, God is the true Father. When Jesus listed out the family relationships, he left father off the list. This was not by mistake. Yes, Joseph served as his earthly father, the dad who raised him for a time. But, Jesus is the Eternal Son of the Eternal Father. No one else can take that place. God’s loving Fatherhood extends to us as well. Whether we had good earthly dads, bad earthly dads, or absent earthly dads, through Jesus we have the perfectly good, always present Eternal Father who loves us.
Third, Jesus wasn’t saying our earthly families aren’t important. God is the one who told us, “Honor your father and mother.” Over and over the Bible highlights the importance of an earthly family and our task to love them and care for them. As much as we are able, we should celebrate our earthly families, especially when there is mutual love present. Instead, Jesus was saying that our eternal family is even greater. We want our earthly families to be a part and to join us in celebrating Jesus. Some, however, have families who not only refuse to do this, but will even threaten and persecute a person for following Jesus. If that happens, we still have our eternal family—we still have a place to belong.
Family is important. Our spiritual family through Jesus is eternal.
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