“Now Jesus’ mother and brothers came to see Him, but they were not able to get near Him because of the crowd. Someone told Him, ‘Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to see You.’ He replied, ‘My mother and brothers are those who hear God’s Word and put it into practice.’” — Luke 8:19-21
I’ve been reading through the book of Luke lately and hearing the words of the Lord while He was on earth. He was constantly speaking to and healing different people, but he was also often challenging those who were called the “religious leaders” and their way of life. He tried to warn them that their religion and their practices weren’t going to be what saved them. Only He could.
During one of these times, while Jesus was speaking to a large crowd, His disciples interrupted Him to let Him know that His family was trying to get to Him. You’d think that He’d stop everything and make sure they had the front row seat, and that all their needs were met. But that wasn’t how He responded. Instead, He said that His brothers and sisters, His mother and father, were those who listened to His words and did them.
This wasn’t the only instance this happened. Throughout His ministry, Jesus continued to make shocking distinctions that the people closest to us aren’t necessarily the people we’re related to by birth. Your true family is your spiritual family. There’s one race of mankind made by God, but theologically, there are the saved and the unsaved.
It’s easy to have a narrow vision — my family, my culture, my racial community. These things are important, but I can’t only care about these groups. As Christ-followers, our No. 1 responsibility is to our family of believers — our family we identity with by the covenant of Jesus. These aren’t always those we eat Thanksgiving dinner with or those who are our blood family. We need to be constantly reminded that we have an eternal purpose and an eternal belonging, even while we are here on earth.
Jesus mentioned this distinction multiple times throughout Scripture — speaking the truth about how earthly distinctions and titles fade. Our family is important, there’s no doubt about that, but what is also important is knowing that we aren’t forced into specific tribes or silos based on ideologies, cultures, birth, race or neighborhood. These are all things that can and should be celebrated, but we can’t lose sight of the fact that we have so much more in common with those who are Christ-followers than we do with those who are not. These relationships must take precedence. We have to approach culture with this view first, knowing that we have a spiritual family that lasts.
This understanding lends itself to helping us deal with temporal issues better because we are more willing to have grace for others’ differences. We can see others as Christ sees them — as eternal beings.
Jesus definitely emphasized the importance of having strong community with those who have been grafted into His body — the body of Christ. Who do you consider part of your closest circle? Who are you both influencing and being influenced by?
— Benjamin Watson, New Orleans Saints tight end
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