Yesterday I began to explain how Jesus introduced a higher order of family life and that we have never begun to fully understand what that means for us. So lets begin to discuss that, and see where it will take us.
First, take a look at Jesus when he was twelve. He had disappeared and after searching for him, his parents found him in the temple sitting among the teachers, listening to them, and asking them questions. His mother rebuked him; “Son, why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been worried sick looking for you!” But his answer put them at a little distance, “Why were you looking for me? Didn’t you realize that I had to be in my Father’s house?” Ouch! Luke even goes further when he says “they didn’t understand what he meant” (Luke 2:48-50). I should say not! Their Old Testament minds only knew of one kind of father, like Joseph.
Although, the next verse makes it clear that he was still subject to his parents at that age, because he left with them. Yet, he already began to demonstrate in his thinking some higher kind of priority than he could give to an earthly father and mother.
Here is where you will have to bear with me. Sometimes the Word of God gets a little too hot to handle, unless you keep your heart open. We have to remember that Jesus always taught in a powerful, revolutionary way. We don’t seem to mind if it only hit the Pharisees’ pet ideas; we just don‟t want him to hit ours! However, in order to teach higher truths about the new spiritual family that was emerging, Jesus taught by contrast. He said it a little stronger than you or I would ever dare, or think was appropriate.
In Matthew and Luke Jesus says that he came to set members of physical families against each other. He even added that anyone who loves his father or mother or his son or daughter more than him is not worthy of him (Matthew 10:34-37). In Luke 14 he says it even more daringly; “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters — yes, even his own life — he can not be my disciple” (Luke 14:26). Now that is harsh!
So what can these words possibly mean? I mean the person who said them is the very personification of Love! Don’t get mad at me, I didn’t say it. In fact, I don’t think I would have to guts to say anything that strong if he hadn’t said it. Okay, just stick with me and we will begin to see what the Lord is trying to get over to us.
Look at Jesus’ personal example with his own physical family. After his first recorded rebuff as a twelve-year-old, we see him next confronting his mother at his first public miracle when he says to her, “Dear woman, why do you involve me?” He wasn’t angry at her because immediately afterward they went home together (John 2:4, 12)
A short time later, when he is preaching, someone calls out from the crowd, “Blessed is the mother who gave you birth and nursed you.” He could have just smiled and nodded and gone on with his sermon, but he calls back, “blessed rather are those who hear the Word of God and obey it” (Luke 11:27-28). (Ouch! How did I get into this?) However, hopefully we can begin to see through the fog, and realize that our all-wise, all-loving Lord Jesus Christ seemed to be giving priority to his spiritual family over his physical family.
Look what we have next, Jesus is preaching again, and someone says to him, “Your mother and your brothers are standing outside wanting to speak to you.” He replied, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers? For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven (catch that relationship, too) is my brother and sister and mother” (Matthew 12:47-50).
Why do we have these rebuffs? Why does Jesus seem to deliberately give attention to his spiritual family at the expense of his physical family? Well, I can think of two possible reasons. One, because his time was short and he had to pour everything he could into strengthening the believers, and particularly the twelve apostles, who would be the foundation pillars of the whole church to follow.
Second, because he loved his especially chosen, God-given physical family so deeply that he knew a lifestyle of total obedience to God was the only way to ultimately win them! They never needed his time for time’s sake, sitting home playing tiddly-winks in the sunshine of Nazareth to prove himself a good brother and son of the family. They needed to see a life lived wholly for God, and that would be the power they could not resist!
They did resist for a long time. Mark 3:20-31 and John 7:5 tell us that during his three years of ministry, they did not believe in him. As a matter of fact, Mary and Jesus brothers (James and Jude) tried to go get him and take him home because they thought he had gone mad and were afraid he would be put to death. They doubted his divinity. That must have hurt however (and this should give hope to many of you), his unswerving, visible godliness eventually won their hearts!
With these Morning Messages, I take you on guided tours to, as Bunyan described, the Celestial City. At times we linger at corners familiar and unseen. And explore the depths of our faith along the way.
The trail is long, but there’s no hurry. Though we do need to stock up on supplies for the way, and that’s where I need your help. If you enjoy these messages, please consider becoming a contributing member of this tour group. It will be very much appreciated.