If you were to ask Jesus about the relationship with his family at the beginning of his ministry he might have said, “It is complicated.” When Jesus began his ministry it wasn’t clear what his family thought of his career choice. Jesus’ step-father (Joseph) was either a carpenter or a stone worker depending upon the translation. In those days, many male children learned the family business.
None of Jesus’ family except for Mary and Joseph were mentioned by name until after the resurrection. James, Jesus’ half-brother or step-brother became the head of the Church after Jesus. James even has a book in the New Testament. Although we don’t know James back story, I assume James didn’t believe that his half-brother Jesus was the Son of God during His ministry. Yet after the resurrection, he became a leader within the Church. The resurrection of Jesus changed everything for James and many others.
When Jesus was preaching, teaching and healing, His family didn’t know what to do with Him. In Mark chapter three we hear how Jesus family struggled with his identity.
Then Jesus entered a house, and again a crowd gathered, so that he and his disciples were not even able to eat. When his family heard about this, they went to take charge of him, for they said, “He is out of his mind.”
I know this is a surprising revelation for some for two reasons:
- Jesus has more family than his mother and step-father.
- They think Jesus is crazy.
I am sure if you grew up with someone it would be a hard thing to accept that they are now preaching, teaching and healing in God’s Name.
Even people in Jesus’ hometown of Nazareth found it difficult to accept that Jesus was the fulfillment of God’s love (see Luke 4:14-30). They tried to kill him for the things he said in the synagogue.
A little later, Jesus’ family comes to find him again after they thought he was “out of his mind.”
Now Jesus’ mother and brothers came to see him, but they were not able to get near him because of the crowd. Someone told him, “Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to see you.”
He replied, “My mother and brothers are those who hear God’s word and put it into practice.” Luke 8:19-21
Although we don’t know why they came to see Jesus this time, if the past is any indication, they weren’t coming over to say “hi” and tell him to “keep up the good work.
Jesus uses the situation and the moment to teach the people around him. “My mother and brothers are those who hear God’s word and put it into practice.”
What might be perceived as a slight to his family (if they heard) is a promise for the rest of us.
What I find interesting is that Jesus doesn’t say anything about faith in this moment. He is completely practical. When you hear biblical instruction and then actually do it, you will be a child of God.
We don’t have to be related to Jesus to be in His family. He provides a way for us to be adopted into His royal family: put in to practice the things he taught us.
That’s what I need to hear…every day. A reminder to act like a child of God because I am a child of God! Even when I fail, the cross of Christ reminds me that I can start over at any time. I need lots of “do-overs.”
We don’t know what happened to the rest of Jesus’ family but it is clear that Mary (his mother) and James were also children of God because they followed Jesus’ teachings later in life.
As child of God, I need a Heavenly Father to guide me. I need a divine parent to watch over me and I need a big brother like Jesus show me the way.