GROWTH AND SUCCESS IN LIFE – Lessons Learned at the Feet of Jesus
Jesus has been teaching about the character of the Kingdom of Heaven and the paths of Disciples – those who have believed in and are now following him. The message and ministry of Jesus – the healing of the sick and crippled – exposed the religious leaders for who they were as the enemies of God. They now plotted to kill Jesus. Having addressed the unbelief of his listeners who want to see more miracles – when ample evidence already exists as to the authority of Jesus – now instructions come on the priority of family and the Kingdom of God.
Matthew 12:46-50 46While Jesus was still talking to the crowd, his mother and brothers stood outside, wanting to speak to him. 47Someone told him, “Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to speak to you.” 48He replied to him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” 49Pointing to his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers. 50For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.”
1. Family Relationships that Have Little Spiritual Connection. Everyone has family of one fashion or another. We all were born of a mother, and, in many cases, had a childhood that included the traditional family – two parents, and 2.5 siblings. But here is the challenge. A commitment to follow Jesus requires a spiritual priority for this disciple greater than the commitment to physical family. Hence, family is redefined as those the will of God. This is radical in one sense but necessary to separate split allegiances for the adult disciple who finds himself at a crossroad – obedience and following Jesus, or denial and walking from Jesus with the draw of family. 2. Family Relationships that Share Spiritual Connection. There is another option. Would to God that our physical family is also our spiritual family. That we are aligned in spiritual priorities looking together at Jesus, side by side with physical family and the spiritual family of brothers and sisters who are aligned in following Jesus. True family is aligned as those who agree together on the true nature of God as our heavenly Father, of Jesus as the Messiah predicted to provide redemption to the world, and the will of God as that which is expressly revealed in the Bible – to be known and followed.
Jesus has now defined our spiritual family, our household of God. Bottom line: Family are those who are committed to doing the will of God. More on the will of God in future weeks.
We are entering the fertile ground of parables in the Bible, and how Jesus taught from parables. Jesus will clearly explain the nature of spiritual birth and growth (the parable of the soils), the challenges to Christian growth (the parable of the weeds), and values and rewards for the Christian (the parables of the treasure, the hidden pearl, and the net and fishing). You can read ahead in Matthew 13 to get a preview. Stay well.
— John Moore