The Family of Jesus, the Family of God

(Luke 8:19-21)

While Jesus was speaking to the people one time, his mother and brothers were trying to reach him to speak with him but could not. So they sent a message via the crowd asking to speak with him.

The Family of Jesus

familyNow these few verses contain some interesting details about Jesus. First, we know that he was part of a family, not just Joseph and Mary, but brothers and elsewhere it says he had sisters too. In Mark 6:3 he is described by the people in his home country saying, “Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon, and are not his sisters here with us?” So it is clear that he had four brothers and at least two sisters for the reference is plural.

Needless to say this flies in the face of some commonly held beliefs that he was an only child. It is clear that after he was born, Mary and Joseph had other children as well.

I like to think also that when the Bible says of him that he is, “…one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin,” (Hebrews 4:15) this probably includes all of the family related temptations and problems. Sibling rivalry and petty disputes between brothers and sisters can be a problem in some families, and I like to believe that Jesus also went through those things too. Whether I am right or wrong doesn’t really matter, but it is comforting to know that if the need arises he can sort out those issues as well.

But I digress!

The Family of God

We also see in this section that he speaks of his spiritual family. Who are the Lord’s family in the spiritual sense? “My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and do it.” (Verse 21)

There are a number of times when he has made similar statements to this. He speaks of those who “hear his word and do it,” as being like a wise man who dug deep and built his house founded upon the rock. (Matthew 7:24) This too is the thrust of the teaching in James 2:15-26.

It is not enough to just hear the words of the Lord, we must do them as well. We must act on the words. As James showed in the section mentioned above, “So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead.” (James 2:17) He is not talking about works of law, but the works that are the actions and behaviours that provide the evidence of your faith. If we claim to be Christians then we should behave like Christians and bear the fruit of Christianity in our lives.

People will know that we are Christians not simply because of what we say, but when we back up what we say with deeds, actions and behaviours that are consistent with what we say. This is the proof that we are not just compliant to a form of religion, but that the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ lead us and guide us in our day to day life. It shows we are committed to the truth of the gospel.

And when we live our lives in this way, listening to the words of Jesus and doing them, we are like wise men building on the rock, and the Lord is proud to call us his mother, brother or sisters; we are the family of God.

(Clipart sourced from:

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