This short section in Matthew’s Gospel serves as additional evidence that Jesus was God in the form of a human being. Although He had a mother, four half-brothers and at least two half-sisters, He did not think of them like you or I think of our mother, brothers, or sisters. We consider our relationships with them as special, and unlike what we share with any other people on earth. They’re our own “flesh and blood.” Jesus, however, considered Himself to be more closely related to those who, as He said, do the will of His Father in heaven. Had He been only a human being and not God, His reaction to the request of His mother and brothers to see Him could be considered thoughtless, uncaring, and even sinful. But because He was God, He spoke the pure truth, testifying that He had a closer, more important relationship with those who obeyed God than He did with His own mother and brothers.
At least two other points could be made about this short passage. When Jesus declared that His disciples had a relationship with Him that could be best compared to the relationships between family members, He endorsed the fact that family relationships ought to be the closest relationships among human beings. Again, notice that when He wanted to make a point about the closeness of His relationship with His disciples, He used a comparison of relationships within a family. He did not say, “Who are My favorite neighbors?” or, “Who are My best friends at school?” but, “Who is my mother? Who are my brothers?” (Matthew 12:48).
In our perverted and ungodly culture, many families are fragmented. Parents and children are alienated from one another; brothers and sisters hate each other. Families slowly drift apart as individual members seek deeper relationships elsewhere. That which God has intended to be an institution for building our closest relationships is often just a dormitory at best or a battleground at worst. But Christian families shouldn’t be like that. God wants your closest relationships to be with your father, mother, sisters and brothers. It may sound hard to believe if you and your brother(s) and/or sister(s) are enemies, but God wants you to be very close friends . Are you?
There is, however, one possible exception to this, also made clear in this short passage in Matthew’s Gospel. Just as Jesus acknowledged that His relationships with His spiritual brothers were higher than His relationships with his physical brothers, the same is true for all followers of Christ. As Christians, we can and should have relationships with one another that transcend the best relationships that non-Christians have with their own family members. If some or all of your family members aren’t Christians, you may well have closer relationships with people outside your family, people who are believers like you. This doesn’t mean, however, that you should neglect your relationships with unsaved members of your family. Rather, you should love them with God’s love, attempting to win them to Christ. And if all of your family members are saved, then you are doubly blessed to have such special relationships with people who are your physical and spiritual brothers and sisters!
Q. How would you describe your family and the relationships between members? Are you very close, close, not so close, drifting apart, or splintered? What could you do to improve the relationships within your family?
Q. How much time does your family spend doing things together? Do you think the amount of time you spend together is sufficient to build your closest relationships? Do the things you do together as a family truly contribute to drawing you closer to one another, or are they non-productive things, such as watching TV?
Application: As believers in Jesus, we are members of the most wonderful family in the world. We’ve got millions of brother and sisters in heaven and on earth, an awesome big brother named Jesus, and a Father who cares for us like no other!