He replied to him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” Pointing to his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.”
Matthew 12 : 48 – 50
I remember watching a TV interview with a rock star on TV, who was known for his outrageous behavior. The interviewer asked him if he worried about how his mother felt about the things he said and did. He replied – with some anger – that he couldn’t care less what his mother thought. I remember feeling bad for his mother.
I have often had a similar feeling reading this passage. Mary’s son was a highly polarizing figure in his culture – kind of like Marmite. Many loved him but just as many hated him. Were his family sometimes caught between pride or admiration, and embarrassment or hurt as the gossip about Jesus, and the social fallout from whatever he was up to now reached them. I have wondered how Mary and Jesus’ brothers felt about that question, ‘Who is my mother and who are my brothers?’ Did it hurt? Did it feel dismissive? Was it hard to accept who and what he was? Would family gatherings have been easier if he had been a little more ordinary?
But what did it feel like to be on the other side of that situation. Imagine you are one of Jesus disciples, and he points to you and says ‘you are my mother, or my brother or my sister.’ This man whose teaching you have been inspired by, whose words and actions have stirred something in you – what does it feel like to know that he considers you to be as close to him, and as precious to him, as it is possible to be? Can that be uncomfortable too, to realise that someone else is invested in their relationship with you, and that expectations that might come with that?
What does it mean to you that Jesus Christ considers you family? Does his lifestyle and teaching sometimes leave you wishing he was a bit more ordinary? Would it be easier to introduce him to others if he was?
Prayer: Father, thank you that through Jesus Christ, we have the right to become the children of God. Flawed as we are, you desire us as your family, your dearest loved ones. Help us to accept your Son, Jesus, for all that he is, even when it makes us uncomfortable. Amen
Action: Is there a family member that you struggle to embrace, quirks and all? How can you let them know that you love them this week?
You can show Jesus that you love him as a brother by doing the will of our Father – what does that look like for you today?