Wednesday, April 20, 2011
Following Jesus' Family Values
A crowd was sitting around Him, and they said to Him, "Behold, Your mother and Your brothers are outside looking for You." Answering them, He said, "Who are My mother and My brothers?" Looking about at those who were sitting around Him, He said, "Behold My mother and My brothers! For whoever does the will of God, he is My brother and sister and mother."
Jesus was not actually rejecting his birth-family. He was not saying that he would have nothing to do with his mother or brothers anymore. But he was saying that his real family is made up of a different substance than birth, blood and genes. Jesus’ new family was made up of those who pursued God’s will and held to the truth of God. Jesus’ new family is made up of those who have faith, are repentant of their sins and will love each other, no matter what. Birth family members can join this family, but similar blood doesn’t make one qualified alone.
He said to her, "Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace."
Jesus healed this woman and he proclaimed her faith—trust in God’s power through Jesus and persistence—to those around. Because of her faith, Jesus called her “daughter” and thus made her a part of his family.
When Jesus then saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing nearby, He said to His mother, "Woman, behold, your son!" Then He said to the disciple, "Behold, your mother!"
Mary was Jesus’ mother, and as the oldest son, he was to care for her. However, he was no longer able to do that. Thus, his social requirement was to give her in the care to another family member. Rather than choosing one of his birth brothers, Jesus chose John, a brother in faith, and they became a family, not of earth, but in the Spirit.
He is not ashamed to call them brethren, saying, "I WILL PROCLAIM YOUR NAME TO MY BRETHREN"
Jesus, in bring us salvation, had to be like us so that we could be called a part of his family. We are called both brothers and sons, and have become a part of Jesus’ family. Thus are we delivered from Satan and from death, because of our relation to Jesus.
Remember that you were at that time separate from Christ, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.
We were once out of the people, the family, of God. Now, through Jesus, we are a part of God’s family and everyone who is accepted by God is in our family. We are a new family, a new nation and we hold to be brothers and sisters, not those who have our blood and genes, but those who are of God’s kingdom.
Do you suppose that I came to grant peace on earth? I tell you, no, but rather division; for from now on five members in one household will be divided, three against two and two against three.
If we are associated with Jesus, we need to realize that our old family will persecute us and hate us, because they assume that we are rejecting them. And, in a way, we are (Luke 14:26)—we will only accept them as family as they are devoted to Jesus. And so we will be hated and rejected by our birth families.
John said to Him, "Teacher, we saw someone casting out demons in Your name, and we tried to prevent him because he was not following us." But Jesus said, "Do not hinder him... For he who is not against us is for us. For whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because of your name as followers of Christ, truly I say to you, he will not lose his reward."
Jesus wanted his disciples to realize who was a part of the new family and who was not. Those who do miracles in Jesus’ name, even if they are eccentric, or don’t belong to the same group, they are a part of the family. Even those who do acts of kindness to one because of the name of Jesus, they are a part of the family. But those who cause others to sin, they are not a part of the family, no matter how much they use the name of Jesus to justify their sin.
"Walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit."
Because we are all a part of the same family, we need to treat each other well. We need to see each others as equals under Christ—all under the one head. And we need to see us as one family, not allowing divisions to separate us because of unimportant matters.
Francis of Assisi was the son of a wealthy merchant. He had a vision of the Lord that caused him to change from a party animal to a fool for Christ. He began to use his father’s business to rebuild a small chapel in Assisi. His father discovered his son’s embezzlement and took him to court. Before the court, Francis said, “I am no longer the son of my earthly father, but only my father in heaven. I will give back everything I have received from my earthly father.” And he stripped naked and walked out of the court. The bishop there gave him his own clothing and had him stay at his house.
Thomas Aquinas was the son of a wealthy man who expected his son to become a lawyer. But while Thomas was in school, he determined to become a Dominican monk. His family refused to let him and even kidnapped him and tried to corrupt him. But Thomas stood strong and refused his old family, joining the monastery as his new family.
Claire of Assisi was a noblewoman in Italy who was destined to marry well and live in comfort and power. All she wanted, however, was to focus on God and his love. So she ran away from her family to Francis of Assisi who helped her live securely, but simply, and to focus on the love of her life, Jesus. She began a new family, a group of women who loved Jesus just as she did.
Living it out
Remember that our family in the flesh is no longer our real family
We are at times upset at our birth family because we feel that they should do better toward us. However, Jesus wants us to realize that our birth family isn’t our real family. They will at times persecute us, at times hate us—but they are not our real family, and we need to expect ill treatment from them.
Connect with those who are your family in God’s kingdom
Our real family members aren’t necessarily those who are in the same church, or those who claim they are a Christian. The family of God are those who are acceptable in God and Jesus said that these are acceptable:
• Those who have single-minded faith in Jesus
• Those who are repentant
• Those who act in love
Remember that this real family is diverse, and eccentric
The family of God has people of many races, many different kind of backgrounds and many cultures. We need to accept all of them. Some of these people act crazy or weird or belong to strange groups. Nevertheless, if they display the faith, repentance and love in Jesus, they are our family. As it is often said, you can’t choose who you have as family. That’s because God is the one who makes the choices, not us. And God delights in choosing the unaccepted by society to be his own.
Don’t reject people because they belong to the wrong group—look instead at their heart for Jesus
No matter who a person is with, if they display the faith, repentance and love of Jesus, they are in Jesus. We cannot block a whole group out and say, “These are hated by God” unless as a group they display rejection of Jesus. We need to see that many times God delivers those whom we least expect, even those in the wrong group.
Do all you can to assist and love your new family.
We are to be humble before our family and to serve them. If any of our family have needs, we are to be there for them, caring for them, comforting them and helping them in all we can.