For whoever does the will of God, he is my brother and sister and mother.

Mark 3: 35

 

When Jesus says this, He is making a bold statement. These were powerful words in His culture, and they still are today. Our natural families are important. However, Jesus forcefully states that His allegiance and His trust are vested in a different set of people who He now claims and proclaims to be His true family. This is at least somewhat confusing in that God’s word is peppered with comments about honoring our parents and treating our children with respect. So, what do I think Jesus is telling us?

 

It is my understanding that Jesus is saying that the transformation that happens when we accept Him and enter into a relationship with God is total, complete, and absolute. We are new creatures in Christ. This newness includes everything in and about us. No part of our being is left out. Certainly there is old mixed in with the new, but our identity is transformed from that of one who is spiritually dead to that of a person with an eternal soul and a God infused outlook. All of our relationships are framed in a different perspective, and this includes those with our families.

 

Certainly our natural, human families are still important. In fact, according to God’s desire for the way that we enter into relationships, they should gain new priority and renewed elements of love, grace, mercy, and peace making. Yet, in Christ we gain much more. His followers are adopted together into a large and very extended family of faith by and through the deeply profound spiritual bond that is formed by the presence of the Holy Spirit in us individually and among God’s people as we gather. This new family can and should be the place where we go to receive support, encouragement and Godly wisdom. It is also the community that we can join with in seeking to follow God’s will and calling for our lives.