Then Jesus’ mother and brothers arrived. Standing outside, they sent someone in to call him. A crowd was sitting around him, and they told him, “Your mother and brothers are outside looking for you.”
“Who are my mother and my brothers?” he asked.
Then he looked at those seated in a circle around him and said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.” Mark 3:31-35
Imagine Jesus looking around at the individuals encircling him. He starts to lock eyes with several as he scans the room and his heart melts with warm love for every person present. Here, Jesus is with his people. In this circle, Jesus is known, valued, loved.
Every single person in this group recognized he was different, he was worth following, and perhaps beginning to believe he could be, as the demons called him, “the Son of God.” Their posture was receptive and they treated Jesus with a kind of star-stuck love. It’s in this very circle that Jesus re-defines “family.” Because when Jesus’ biological family shows up (who thought he was “out of his mind” in Mark 3:21), the mood shifts.
So often culture dictates what we want and the ideal form of what we want. This happens with the concept of family. Generally speaking, the American family ideal is a happy marriage with several children supported by an average to above-average pay. Jewish culture would have been similar but with an extreme emphasis on reputation on behalf of one’s family.
What Jesus says here would have been down-right offensive. The communal sense of family was paramount but Jesus tells them, “those who do the will of his Father” will be recognized as family. Later Jesus’ disciple John writes, “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” (1 John 3:1)
In Jesus’ Kingdom, we are given a new family. Our family consists of those who walk in the way of Jesus as he walks in the way of the God-head. We are known, valued, and loved in this family around the globe. Take a moment today to praise God for welcoming you into his family and extend a word of encouragement to someone else in your Kingdom family.
By Yvonne Biel