While Jesus was speaking to the crowds, his mother and brothers stood outside trying to speak with him. Someone said to him, “Look, your mother and brothers are outside wanting to speak with you.” Jesus replied, “Who is my mother? Who are my brothers?” He stretched out his hand toward his disciples and said, “Look, here are my mother and my brothers. Whoever does the will of my Father who is in heaven is my brother, sister, and mother” (Matthew 12:46-50, Common English Bible).
Beyond my natural family, beyond my wife, children, grandchildren, mother, sister, in-laws, etc. there are many people with whom I have close relationships. I have very dear friends including the parents of yet another very dear friend.
Ryan is a very special young man to me. His parents are dear friends, but it isn’t the same. I say Ryan is a young man, he is in his late 40s. Still, he is younger than I so I guess it’s OK. Ryan is a special needs, mentally challenged young man whom I have grown to love almost as much as any member of my family.
All this is to say, Ryan calls me, “Uncle Keith.” And, I guess I see him as more than just a friend. To me, though not a blood relative, Ryan is family. He could be a third son. He could be a nephew or a cousin. But, the long and short of this is, Ryan is more than just a friend and he always will be.
I also remember as a kid that my dad had an old Navy buddy. I called him and his wife, “Uncle Dean and Aunt Arlene.” I have vague memories of going to Illinois to visit them when I was a young child.
There are people in most of our lives that are beyond our blood relatives who are very special to us. They become like our families.
I can’t imagine what it must have felt like to Mary when she heard (if she actually heard, the Bible doesn’t say she did) Jesus say, “Who is my mother? Who are my brothers?” and, “Look, here are my mother and my brothers. Whoever does the will of my Father who is in heaven is my brother, sister, and mother.” She had given birth to him in what had to be the most difficult and yet most rewarding time of her life. I can’t help but wonder, was there some sort of rift in Jesus’ family? Perhaps the rest of the family was angry with Jesus for having left them behind. It could be that they had not yet accepted Jesus’ ministry and life as a person who was rapidly becoming known as a religious personality. And, it could even be that they had not yet accepted that he was the Messiah. If there was a dispute in the family, the Bible doesn’t say what it was over. Or, for that matter, that there even was a rift.
I think that what Jesus is trying to say here is, those who join us in faith to Him, who seek to do His will, are more than just our friends. They are part of our spiritual family. And, as important as our blood family may be, and should be, our spiritual family should mean as much or even more.
Knowing Scripture (our Old Testament) as well as Jesus did, I don’t think it would have EVER been his intention to dishonor his mother. I really don’t think that was his point. His point was, family is who you make it and those who do the will of God should be part of our family too.
I love my mom, dad and sister. I love my wife, children, grandchildren, aunts, uncles and cousins. They are my family and I wouldn’t trade them or the relationships I have with them for anything in the world. But then there is also Ryan and his parents. There are my many friends. They are part of my family too. But, I also can’t neglect my brothers and sisters in Christ. They are also part of my now very large family.
And, I would say to Ryan, thanks for wanting to be my nephew! I think that you are. I know you are my brother. You are my brother in Jesus Christ.
Who are your brothers and sister?
Have a blessed day in the Lord.
Joy, Peace and Thanksgiving,
Copyright 2017, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved