It is my delight to introduce to you a guest blogger, Thasia Awad of Lord Make Me Good Ground. Thasia is a beautiful writer, and a motivational speaker. Thasia (Aka Tay) does a great job of documenting her journey with Christ on her own blog. She is married with three children and one of her favorite things to do is to drive around and go sightseeing. Her hobbies and interests include spending time with my family, exercising, reading, writing, researching and watching debates . Thasia spends much of her free time studying and writing material that will reach the hearts and minds of all God’s children.
So without further ado…Hear what Tay has to say!
By Thasia Awad
“As usual, here Jesus was, speaking to a crowd of people when his mother and brothers summonsed him from outside of where the crowd was. Then someone said to Jesus, “Your mother and your brothers are outside asking for you” (Mat. 12:46-50; Mark 3:31-35; Luke 8: 20-22). Jesus then replies, “Who is my mother? Who are my brothers?”.
Some scholars assume the brothers, who were outside with Jesus’ mother, to actually be in reference to the cousins of Jesus while others believe them to be literally, Jesus’ brothers just as the text states. Nevertheless, all professors of God’s word agree that this group who beckoned Jesus to go out and speak with them, were his relatives.
However, I’ve got to stop right here and admit that every time I read this, it baffles me how Jesus so blatantly ignored his mother’s summons. I can bypass his refusal to acknowledge his brother but I had to go deeper to get where Jesus was going with this. We used to live in a world where honoring and respecting our parents was a high precedence within every culture. In the Jewish culture it was and will always be a chief statute for every son and daughter to reverence their parents. In fact, a Jewish son and daughter is to go a step further by keeping the Kavod of their parents which goes beyond honor by also maintaining the dignity of the parents at all cost.
Therefore, when Jesus responded by asking who his mother was, he comes off to most readers as being quite ill-mannered. When his mother called for him, as an obedient Jewish son, Jesus was supposed to get up and go open whatever entrance way for his mother to enter in.
What is Family?
Some scholars believe that Jesus made this statement as a result of his family trying to pull him away from his ministry because they thought he’d gone crazy and was embarrassing the family name (Mark 3:21; John 7:3-5). Although this may have contributed to him asking this question, when studying Jesus’ character, I doubt he was trying to disrespect his mother. However, he did use his rhetoric to lead him to introduce a revolutionary view on family– a view that extends far beyond the connection of the flesh.
After he asked the question, he then pointed to his disciples and said, “Look, these are my mother and brothers” (Matthew 12:49; Mark 3:34; Luke 8:21). I think that the majority would agree that no matter if you came from a humble yet close-knit or dignified and prestigious family, this would be a slap in the face to hear another family member say this. In most societies, blood relatives trump every other relationship in our lives- some won’t agree but with our actions, we show that our families and other earthly relationships we’re connected to, sometimes prevail over our relationship with God himself. Offensive to think that we’d put any relationship over God, right? But we do!
Nevertheless, if we don’t continue, this message may seem like a big ball of confusion. Now, what was Jesus really saying? Was he telling us to forsake the very people who has taken care of us and to only embrace our Christian brothers and sisters? Not at all!
Jesus honored and respected his own family. He actually emphasized the importance of honoring family and he made sure his own mother had security before he left this earth, not only that, but his mother and brothers ended up following him because we see them present on the day of Pentecost (John 19:26-27; Acts 1:14). The only thing he refused to do was allow his connections to his culture, traditions and relatives to get in the way of God’s will for him. God values earthly families. He places us in families because they play a special role in our lives and a healthy family is supposed to reflect our relationship with God.
In an article from Thriving Family Magazine, the author points out elements within a family such as parenting and marriage, that are essential for us in understanding our relationship with God and can only be found in the framework of a family (Bruner, K. 2010). So, God isn’t for us forsaking our families for no reason but in these few passages he wants us to recognize that our earthly family should never take the place of or supersede our relationship with God and the spiritual family he’s engrafted us in (Matthew 10:37; Luke 14:26). After Jesus pointed to his disciples and declared them to be his family, he said,
“My mother and my brothers are all those who hear God’s word and obey it.”
This last comment that Jesus makes seems as if he was letting the crowd know that those who do the will of the Heavenly Father are more ken to us than that which is born of flesh. The Benson commentary says that it was like Jesus was telling the crowd, “I regard obedience to God so highly, that I prefer the relation it constitutes, and the union it begets, to the strongest ties of blood. They who do the will of my Father, have a much greater share of my esteem than my kinsmen, as such. I love them [the family of God] with an affection tender and steady, like that which subsists between the nearest relations…”
Take Heart Family of God
This message may be difficult (even offensive) for some people because Jesus seems to be impressing us to make a choice whenever the time calls for us to do God’s work. It’s difficult for those of us who come from cultures, backgrounds and families where family honor means everything-to the point where the will of God has no room in our individual lives. This message also may be difficult for those of us who have a hard time moving forward in the things of God because we care too much about our cultural pride, the dignity of our family name and what others will think of us if we choose to follow Christ. But then again, this message can be seen as comforting to those who have already made the choice to do God’s will. If we look all around the world, we’ll see many of our brothers and sisters in Christ who has either forsaken or either been abandoned by their families for the sake of following God’s will. Because they said “yes” to the will of God, they’ve been ostracized, isolated and counted as nothing by the very families who raised them. In their cases, it’s as if Jesus is telling these, “Because you’ve chosen to follow the will of the Father and as a result, lost all things and now seen as nothing, I’m now your everything and the people who labor in the things of God with you, are all your brothers and sisters. Take heart because you have a family- a family that I esteem higher than any earthly relationship that you’ve lost- who I behold before God Almighty, the most intimate of all kinships- the body of Christ.”