Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Family of Christ

"My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and act on it."
Luke 8:21

It would seem that if anyone had an inside track to eternal life it was the members of Jesus' own family. Yet, in this passage we see that this was not the case. They had to come like everyone else. In fact, maybe being related to Jesus was actually a hindrance. They watched Him grow up. They knew Him in ways that others didn't. To them, He was no one special. For this very reason their eyes were often blind to the revelation of who He truly is.

But the bigger issue, for us, is where do we find ourselves? We are not related to Jesus. Yet, can we find a place in His family? The answer is yes. When we listen to His word and obey it, we are His relatives. But pay careful attention to what is being said. It is not enough to hear the word of God, or know the word of God. We must be doing the word of God. We must obey! And we must obey daily, not just sporadically. If this was the case for Jesus' own mother and brothers, then how much more must it be the case for us. There are no exceptions; obedience equals relationship.

Isn't that rather legalistic? No, it's not. We all operate the same way. The only real relationships we have are those in which we love the other person enough to be committed to them no matter what. This is really what Jesus is saying. We can't have a relationship with Him if we will only be committed to Him when we want something from Him. That's not a relationship, it's prostitution.

Now this also raises an issue about the place of Mary, our Lord' s mother. Doesn't this passage show that she really didn't get it and couldn't possibly be all the things Catholics say she is? No, not really. Mary didn't understand everything that was going on. Episodes like this one in which she was concerned for the welfare of our Lord indicate that she simply didn't have some of the insight that she gained after hearing His words. But this doesn't mean she was sinning. In fact, we may look at this passage and understand that in the eternal perspective, Mary does not receive all the attention she gets merely because she gave birth to our Lord, but also because she truly was an exemplary disciple. She obeyed the word of God from the heart every time she was given the opportunity to do so. Would that we could say the same!

To live as one of Jesus' own we must continually be humbly seeking Him in prayer and in the Word. As we meditate on the Word, we must be sure that we are looking for the ways this is practically lived out in our lives. As we do, we show that we really are members of Christ's family. What a great privilege! What a tremendous joy!

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