“For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother” Matthew 12:50
While Jesus is talking to the crowds his mother and brothers arrive to see Him. There’s a large crowd present. Jesus is inside speaking and the size of the crowd prevents Mary and the brothers of Jesus getting to Him. Word filters through the crowd to Jesus that His mother and brothers are outside. And His response is surprising.
We would expect Jesus to usher His family in, to ask the crowd to step aside and to let Him have quality time with His brothers. But that is not what happens. Jesus instead asks a question “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” Matthew 12:48. This may seem a pretty straightforward question, but Jesus gives a very unexpected answer. He points to His disciples and says “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 12:49-50
Jesus is giving us an insight into the way things are in the Kingdom. In the Kingdom we are all family. We are all children of God when we are Kingdom people, so we are all related. We are all one family.
Which means we must love each other as family. There are many divisions within the church today. Different views on many topics of varying importance. Clashes of opinion over stylistic preferences. But we are all one family in the Kingdom. We all share the same Father so we must learn to love and respect each other in the mismatched patchwork family of the Kingdom.
We have brothers who do not look like us. We have sisters who speak a different language to us. Yet somehow, through the grace and mercy of God, we are all called to be one family. Being family means looking out for one another. It means caring for one another. It means investing in one another. It means being there in all circumstances for one another, in the good and also the bad. It means loving when you don’t feel like loving. It means unconditional love and acceptance of all who are part of the family – not just those we want to love and accept, not just those who are easy to love and accept, not just those who are like us, but loving and accepting all who have entered through the narrow gate and become part of the kingdom family.
In family you have one another’s back. In family you share joyfully with one another. In family you support and encourage one another. As Kingdom people we are called into family with believers all around the world. We are called to something much bigger than us, much bigger than our church, much bigger than our denomination. We are called into a family of all the believers. And when people start seeing us living as family that is when they will see something they want to be a part of. They will start asking us questions which will provide all sorts of opportunities for us to tell them all about Jesus and what He did for each one of us on the cross. We will be able to invite them to join the family through the adoption process that is open to all who call on the name of the Lord.
Remember today that in the Kingdom we are family. There may be disagreements, but we are still family. There may be cultural differences, but we are still family. There is no room for prejudice in family. We are not called to be a family of just people who look like us, talk like us and think like us, but rather we are called to be a family of all who do the will of the Father.
Family can be messy at times. It can hurt at times. But through thick and thin family is there for each other. We may have our disagreements but ultimately we realise at the end of the day we are still family. We have our disagreements about the secondary issues but we realise that they are outweighed by the primary issue that unites us, that we are the kingdom family of those who do the will of God.
So today look for ways to strengthen the family bonds. Seek to get to know those family members who are different to yourself. Enjoy the privilege of being called to be a part of this global Kingdom family and find opportunities to do life with other believers, loving them, investing in them, sharing meals and supporting each other can sun or rain. For when we do this, when we live as Kingdom family in the here and now, then we get to see the Kingdom spread on earth as in heaven, we get to be radically counter-cultural to society’s individualistic mind-set and we get to show those around us there is a better way, a way to have life in all its fullness – life as part of the Kingdom family of God.
“There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.” Ephesians 4:4-6
- What does being part of God’s family mean to you?
- In what ways can you be a better family member?
- How can we set an example to those around us of life in all its fullness by being family across racial/cultural/class divisions?