Micah 7:14-15, 18-20; Matthew 12:46-50
Jesus was in the midst of a heated discussion with the religious scholars and Pharisees who were trying to set Jesus up to perform a miracle as proof of who he was. As he was teaching, his brothers and mother showed up outside and were trying to get a message to him. Perhaps they were worried about his well-being and were trying to draw him away from the intensity of the discussion. Jesus used this interruption as a teachable moment to focus on what was truly important---the relationship between himself and his followers. He stretched his hands toward the disciples and identified them as his family because of their obedience and connection to him.
The family relationship is important. We can see that it was important to Jesus with his special connection to his brothers and mother all the way to the cross. He understood that those family ties are the foundation upon which all other relationships are built. Yet he took it another step, expanding the family relationship to all those who believe in him and are considered his disciples.
What are the gifts of a family?
- provides a sense of security
- creates a sense of belonging
- gives a taste of unconditional love
- creates a safe place to discover who we are
- provides a foundation of values and beliefs
- helps us learn how to relate to others outside of the family
- gives opportunity to experience forgiveness and reconciliation
The reality is that many human families are imperfect and we only experience a glimpse of what our spiritual family can be. When Jesus identified his disciples as his family because of their affiliation with him, he has also extended that invitation to us---to become part of a spiritual family that extends and perfects what we know in our human relationships. When we become disciples through our response to Jesus, we become a part of his family and experience all those gifts that a family is meant to provide. It just can’t get much better than that!
By Michele Millard