Mark 3:33 “Jesus said: ‘Who are My mother and My brothers?'”
The Kingdom of God rocks social conventions. It turns everything upside down.
Ethics get redefined to new and higher standards. Religious practices get assigned new meaning and value. Relationships get reordered in profound ways. Nothing goes untouched.
Yet, looking at the way we often integrate Christianity with existing social customs, the upheaval of the Kingdom seems minimal rather than monumental. Christianity has, at times, become an accessory to our vehicle rather than a new engine.
When Jesus’ mother and brothers came looking for Him — He had become so wildly popular that He could barely find time to eat (Mark 3:20) — Jesus shocked the crowd by apparently dismissing His mother and brothers as unimportant. “Who are My mother and My brothers?” In a culture deeply defined by tribe, clan, and family and in an historical period when oppression meant the family needed to pull together more tightly than ever, Jesus seemed out of line.
But not so.
Rather, in that moment, He seized the opportunity (using shock tactics) to articulate a core Kingdom principle. In the Kingdom of God our relationship as brothers and sisters to each other is preeminent. From an eternal perspective, it even supersedes marriage. This has profound implications. It offers a powerful word of inclusion and honor for those who are single, married, or single again. The one abiding, surviving, and eternal relationship we all share is as brothers and sisters because of Christ.
The church rightly honors and respects marriage. It is a sacred environment, but no more hallowed, and certainly less eternal, than the family into which we all enter when we trust ourselves to Christ. This may be as difficult to imagine today as when Jesus suggested it 2000 years ago.
Kim is my wife, and nearly 30 years ago I made a vow to her that is for her alone. Yet, she is first, foremost, and eternally my sister in the Lord. Others in the church are not merely acquaintances or fellow church members. All who do the will of God are my sisters and brothers. That includes you.
Have we forsaken something in the evangelical church by neglecting this Kingdom priority on the “family of God”? Reach out to a brother or sister today; a younger one, an older one. The Father would be pleased.