Luke 8:19-21 says, “Then [Jesus’s] mother and His brothers came to Him, but they could not reach Him because of the crowd. And He was told, ‘Your mother and your brothers are standing outside, desiring to see you.’ But He answered them, ‘My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and do it.’“
This doesn’t mean, of course, that Jesus was disowning His mother and siblings here. We see His love for Mary even on the cross, making sure that she would be taken care of after He had gone. But what Jesus is showing us here is that the most important thing in the world is not family. God is supreme even over our familial relationships. And the family in Christ is higher than the biological family. Jesus will later say in Luke 14:26, “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.” Again, we know that this is hyperbolic, because we are commanded to honor our parents. But this is a comparison. Our love for God should be so intense that any other kind of love looks like hatred by comparison.
We have a tendency to idolize family. We take what is beautiful, and we pervert it. Once, I shared the concept of loving God more than family with someone who professed to believe in Jesus, and he said that he would not do it. His family would always come first.
What this clearly reveals is a total lack of knowing God–not knowing about God, but knowing God, having a relationship with Him. Someone who knows God (and more importantly is known by God) has no problem saying that God is supreme over all things. A person who loses everything and everyone but has God is still joyous, because God’s grace is sufficient for him.
This kind of supremacy extends to the family of Christ. Our faith family should be more important to the Christian than the biological family. Our loyalty and our allegiance should be to them over our unbelieving biological family members. This goes against the grain of what many think to be self-evident truths.
We should certainly love our unbelieving family members, but we have to remember that at this moment, they are enemies of God. They hate God, whether they realize it or not. And we need our spiritual brothers and sisters along side us, praying with us, praying for us sharpening us, doing battle with us. Consider your spiritual brothers and sisters in Christ. Do you treat them like family, as you should? Are they higher in familial priority to you than your own blood relatives? They are your Father’s children, and your Savior’s brothers and sisters and coheirs. May they be precious to us in our hearts and minds and lives.
- Psalm 12
- Genesis 13:2-18
- 1 Chronicles 13
- Luke 8:4-21