Jesus’ True Family
July 10, 2022 | Jess Rainer
Passage: Matthew 12:46-50
Jesus’ true family supersedes all relationships.
1) There are no shortcuts to Jesus. (vs. 46-47) If you were to randomly open your Bible to this passage, you would think that Jesus was anti-family. But that’s not the case at all. What did Jesus think about family? Throughout the Bible, we see family is extremely important. Family is considered a gift. In fact, family is designed by God. We go back to the Garden of Eden and we see God establishing family with Adam and Eve. The institution of marriage was established by God. In the Old Testament, we see an emphasis on family, such as what it means to honor your father and mother. Look at what Exodus 20:12 says: “Honor your father and mother. Then you will live a long, full life in the land the Lord your God is giving you.”
Jesus, Himself, was born into a family unit. We see in Luke 2 that it was in Jesus’ family that He grew in wisdom and stature. Jesus loved His family. Even on the cross, Jesus made sure that His mother would be taken care of by one of His disciples. And all throughout the New Testament, family relationships are discussed. We read about such things as a wife is to respect her husband and a husband is to love his wife as himself. Any wholistic approach to Scripture will show just how important family is. That is why this passage has such a shock factor when you first read it. Jesus seems to disown His family with just one verse. So, what’s going on?
Let’s back it up a little to see the context of this verse. In Mark 3, we learn that Jesus’ family is concerned about Him (and that may be putting it lightly). Mark 3:20-21 20 One time Jesus entered a house, and the crowds began to gather again. Soon he and his disciples couldn’t even find time to eat. 21 When his family heard what was happening, they tried to take him away. “He’s out of his mind,” they said. Jesus’ own family thought that Jesus had gone crazy. These crowds kept following Jesus. And by the way, the “crowds” here do not represent true followers; they are more curious with the novelty of Jesus. From everyone’s perspective (scribes, pharisees, and Jesus’ own family), Jesus was not living a normal Jewish life. And they didn’t like. It was too radical for them. So, Jesus’ family stages an intervention. They wanted to take Him back home, rehab Him, and then hopefully He would live a normal life.
Now, with all this mind, we pick up the scene where Jesus’ mother and brother are outside the house and what do we find happening? They can’t get into the house to speak to Jesus! 46 As Jesus was speaking to the crowd, his mother and brothers stood outside, asking to speak to him. 47 Someone told Jesus, “Your mother and your brothers are standing outside, and they want to speak to you.” We may not think too much about this scene initially, but it would have been a major family event in 1st century Israel. Your family was your identity. Your family name carried your past, your present, and your future. The fact that they couldn’t get into the house would have been disrespectful, but that Jesus doesn’t come to them would have been considered even more disrespectful.
Why did Jesus not go to His family when they called? Jesus was taking this opportunity to teach the Pharisees, His disciples, and His family that not only He was building a spiritual family that is greater than His biological family, but that there are no shortcuts into His spiritual family. While it wasn’t bad, Jesus’ family assumed that they had access to Him that no one else did. You can’t assume your way in Jesus’ family.
While we may not come outright and say it, we can subconsciously think there are shortcuts to Jesus. Examples: Going to church. A major sacrifice made. A major loss incurred. The faith of your family. I’m not as bad as… If we do these things, then surely we can get a backstage pass to heaven. If you were the mother of Jesus, would have you assumed that you had full access of Jesus? I mean, she birthed Him, for crying out loud! These first two verse show that even Mary was on the “outside” looking in. But Jesus doesn’t leave us on the outside with no way in. He wants EVERYONE to be in His family and He’s provided a way to Him. But everyone must come to Jesus and the way to Jesus is radical.
2) The way to Jesus is radical. (vs. 48-49) If it was shocking enough that Jesus didn’t go to His family when they called, Jesus takes it to the next level. He looks at the crowd around Him and asks a question that no one was expecting. Look at verse 48: 48 Jesus asked, “Who is my mother? Who are my brothers?” I can just see the 12 disciples listening intently to Jesus. Philip is over here taking notes. “Jesus is the Messiah” “Stay away from evil spirits”. And then Jesus says this verse. Philip goes to dip his quill into some ink and just freezes. If I was there, I probably would have thought Jesus was starting to lose His mind too! With Jesus’ question, I think that everyone who was listening was shocked. Jesus, by asking this question, strips away His identity with His earthly family. This was an extremely offensive question. But I think there was one person who was not as surprised: Mary. This wasn’t the first time Jesus had said something shocking.
Do you remember when Jesus was 12 years old and went missing from his parents for 3 days? I still have a lot of questions about how they took off a on trip and didn’t realize Jesus was missing until 3 days later. Jesus was the real Kevin McCallister! No doubt, there were events and comments while Jesus was growing up that completely baffled Mary and Joseph. I get the feeling Mary knew that Jesus was about to say something even more shocking. And Jesus did. Look at verse 49: 49 Then he pointed to his disciples and said, “Look, these are my mother and brothers.” Now, Philip just slowly puts his quill down. The disciples are silent. The Pharisees are steaming with anger. Jesus’ brothers are ready to give up. And Mary contemplated what Jesus said in her heart.
What is Jesus saying?! In this statement, Jesus tells us that His disciples are His spiritual family. He wasn’t discrediting His biological family, but elevating His spiritual family. In this statement, Jesus tells us that the family of God supersedes all relationships. In this statement, Jesus tells us that the family of God is the most important relationship we can every have. In this statement, Jesus tells us that the only way into the family of God is through Him. The only way for Jesus’ family to move from being on the outside to the inside is to believe He was the Messiah. Indeed, the way to Jesus is radical. Here’s what makes the way to Jesus so radical: There’s nothing you can do to earn your way into God’s family. Mary, even being the mother of Jesus, could not earn her way in. All Jesus’ family needed to do was acknowledge Him as their Messiah.
There is a radical way to Jesus, but being in the family of Jesus will also call you to radical things. Jesus was on a mission to save the world. In Luke 14:25-27, Jesus explained the radical nature of His mission. 25 A large crowd was following Jesus. He turned around and said to them,26 “If you want to be my disciple, you must, by comparison, hate everyone else—your father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even your own life. Otherwise, you cannot be my disciple. 27 And if you do not carry your own cross and follow me, you cannot be my disciple. To be clear, Jesus isn’t saying to hate your family! He is saying that our love for Jesus is to be great that by comparison, it should make our love for our family seem like hate. In other words, our allegiance to Jesus must be greater than any other relationship.
That allegiance brings a hard reality. Getting Jesus may lead to giving up others.
Our lives will be radical, but that’s a good thing because there’s nothing like being in God’s family. We should want to other people to know we are in God’s family. And that’s where Jesus closes this scene out:
3) Being in God’s family should be evident. (vs. 50) Jesus ties up this whole scene with a final statement in verse 50: 50 Anyone who does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother!” There is much simplicity in this final verse. God’s family carries out God’s will. What does it mean to carry out God’s will? Listen to God and do what He says. Your belief is validated by your actions. Obedience is a sign of being in God’s family.
This sermon series will a year long journey through the book of Matthew in 2022. These messages will examine the broader themes in Matthew like God’s character, Jesus as the fulfillment of the Old Testament’s promises for a Messiah, and the importance of internal integrity over external behavior. It lays out practical application points like the need for salvation, baptism, and repentance. It also provides answers to the question “Who is Jesus?”. It invites you to recognize Jesus as God’s Son and to receive him as Lord of your lives. This sermon series provides the groundwork for a clear explanation of the Gospel.