December 17

The Two Important Families

Matthew 12:46-50 While He was still talking to the multitudes, behold, His mother and brothers stood outside, seeking to speak with Him. Then one said to Him, “Look, Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside, seeking to speak with You.” But He answered and said to the one who told Him, “Who is My mother and who are My brothers?” And He stretched out His hand toward His disciples and said, “Here are My mother and My brothers! For whoever does the will of My Father in heaven is My brother and sister and mother.”

Luke 11:27-28 And it happened, as He spoke these things, that a certain woman from the crowd raised her voice and said to Him, “Blessed is the womb that bore You, and the breasts which nursed You! But He said, “More than that, blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it!”

In these two passages, Jesus demonstrates the perfect balance of love for natural family and love for our spiritual brothers and sisters. This Jesus, who at 12 knew He was to be about his Father’s business, and went home to be subject to His parents (Luke 2:51), also made sure—while on the cross!—to guarantee protection for his mother by pointing her to John and John to her. He was a good, obedient son.

Yet as important as His natural family was to Him, He knew there was something more. His disciples were part of the greater family. He called them His mother and His brothers! And then He extended that family relationship to anyone who does the will of God.

It can be easy to get sentimental about the Lord, especially around Christmastime and when thinking of Jesus and His mother. After all, He is love, and there are moments of great tenderness found throughout the scriptures. We also are tempted at times to bring the sweetness of children and families into our understanding of what Jesus was like with His family (and again, especially with Mary). That seems to have been the case with the “certain woman from the crowd” in Luke 11 (above).

Jesus wasn’t rude to the woman, nor did He reject Her thinking. He simply elevated it. He called her to a higher understanding of what was blessed and important in His eyes (that is, in reality): “Blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it.”

God bless those of us that have loving, supportive natural families. Families are obviously important to God, as one of the Ten Commandments is dedicated to honoring parents, and there are passages galore in the New Testament directed to husband, wives and children—all for the goal of creating and sustaining happy and healthy natural families.

But there is a family dearer to our Lord than His own natural family, and it should be dearer to us than our own families—and that is the family of God. Let’s follow His example of honoring His own family, yet finding that place in our heart to treasure our spiritual family even more.

Prayer: Father, help me to love Your called ones, Your bride, Your body, even more than my own natural family. May I never fall short in loving my own family, and may I also see with Your eyes the loveliness of the spiritual brothers and sisters You’ve given me. Help me to never fall short in loving and appreciating them.

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