31And his mother and his brothers came, and standing outside they sent to him and called him. 32And a crowd was sitting around him, and they said to him, “Your mother and your brothersc are outside, seeking you.” 33And he answered them, “Who are my mother and my brothers?” 34And looking about at those who sat around him, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! 35For whoever does the will of God, he is my brother and sister and mother.” (Mark 3:31-35)
Christians are Family
It’s not that Christians should be like a family. It’s that Christians are a family. Those older people in your church, those are your fathers and mothers. Those younger people, those are your sons and daughters. Those people to your right and left on Sunday mornings are your bothers and sisters.
You are not only called to God when you become a Christian, you’re called into God’s family. Just as you were born into your biological family, you are reborn into the Christian family. Older Christians become spiritual fathers and mothers. Younger Christians become spiritual sons and daughters. Contemporaries become brothers and sisters.
How can you honor and thank those who have taken time to spiritually father and mother you? Whom has God laid on your heart that you should approach to mentor or learn from? Whom should you move toward to deepen a sibling, iron-sharpening-iron relationship?
Christian Family Fulfills Biological Family
Did Jesus dishonor his mother in this passage? No. By proclaiming his allegiance to the family of God he fulfilled the best hopes for biological family. The best case scenario is for our children to grow up and cleave to their Christian family, be spiritually parented by mature Christians, give their lives for their Christian brothers and sisters, and mentor younger believers as sons and daughters.
Beware of over-emphasizing your biological family. Do not sprinkle Christianity on top of your family, plunge your family into Christ! Do not add Jesus into your family where he fits. Give your family over to him.
The Christian Family Resemblance is Obedience
35For whoever does the will of God, he is my brother and sister and mother.
Just as biological family members resemble one another, there is a Christian family resemblance. It isn’t how you look, but what you do: the will of God. Christians can spot one another by this family resemblance. I have experienced a deeper connection with a Christian I just met than some church people I’ve known for years. The difference is whether or not we are part of the brotherhood of those trying to live their lives according to God’s will.
If this is not you and you know it, I invite you to received and believe in Jesus and join the family.
- How might embracing the fact that we are family change the way we look at one another within the church?
- Who have been your spiritual fathers, mothers, brothers and sisters. Share briefly about the impact they have had on your life.
- Has God ever placed anyone on your heart with whom you think you may need to pursue a deeper relationship?
- How do we prioritize spiritual family without hurting biological family? Our own motives are never as pure as Jesus’. Such choices are rarely so clear cut. (Needs vs wants.) It’s one thing to say “I’m called to this mission trip so I won’t be home for the holidays,” and something else to say (or think) “I don’t feel like coming home right now; see you another time.”
- How do you honor your parents when you’re old enough to be independent? What about parents & family who are not Christians?
- How are we to handle the Western idea of ‘adolescence,’ those years in which one is no longer considered a child, but not yet considered an adult? Can you think of any scriptures that can guide us here?
[Sorry, no audio this time. Recording did work!]