All in the Family

By John Fischer

As Jesus was speaking to the crowd, his mother and brothers were outside, wanting to talk with Him. Someone told Jesus, “Your mother and your brothers are outside, and they want to speak to you.”

Jesus asked, “Who is my mother? Who are my brothers?” Then He pointed to His disciples and said, “These are my mother and brothers. Anyone who does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother!” Matthew 12:46-50, NLT

Everyone wants to be on the inside. The existence of clubs, secret societies, membership, and associations indicates there is something in all of us that seeks a special identity apart from everyone else. No one wants to be lost in a crowd.

In the instance quoted above, Christ’s immediate family tried to pull rank on the larger group Jesus was addressing. The implication in their request is that they expected Jesus to give them priority over the crowd; they wanted Him to stop what He was doing and pay attention to them. We have no idea what the urgency was, it may have even been some important family matter they felt was worthy of an interruption, but Jesus used the opportunity to teach everyone something: He has a much bigger family than His nuclear family, and in that family, everyone has priority.

How does it feel to be a part of Christ’s immediate family? We have priority. Even if Mary His mother showed up, Jesus would say, “Just a minute. I know you’re my mother, but I’m talking to my mother over here.” Our requests receive the same significance as those from Mary, the mother of Jesus, and Christ’s earthly brothers. We have privilege, by walking in God’s will.

It’s a testimony to his humility that one of those brothers waiting to talk to Jesus that day was James, who went on to become one of the most important leaders of the early church, respected by Jews and Gentiles alike, and the author of the New Testament book by his name. When he introduces himself at the beginning of that book, he calls himself: “James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ.” James 1:1 Nothing else. You would think he would have thrown in “and brother of Jesus,” just for extra measure (I would have), but he did not. He didn’t want his place to be seen as any different from anyone else’s.

James knew that we could all say we are “the brother/sister of Jesus” by rebirth. He was not in a special position by birth; he was in a special position by a new birth into God’s family by faith. The same can be true for each of us.

Question: How can we try to remain humble, given the fact we are considered family with our Lord?

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