July 24, 2016: Jesus: “Who is my mother, who are my brothers & sisters?”

Posted on : Jul 21st, 2016 | By | Category: This Sunday's Service

Wednesday evening Ted Cruz got booed off the stage at the Republican National Convention when he encouraged Republicans to “vote their conscience.” It was not a pleasant experience.

Jesus undoubtedly got the same kind of reception when he made a similarly controversial statement regarding family.

For years the “traditional family values” folks berated and violently opposed any family configuration that was not, in their view, “traditional.” Traditional meant a husband, wife and kids. They were absolutely sure that God had ordained “traditional families” and only “traditional families” for the good of all. They used that argument to oppose equal marriage for lesbian and gay people and to prohibit gay or lesbian couples from adopting children. But there was always one glaring error in their thinking, and that is that Jesus totally contradicted that religious belief.

This Sunday we will look at another of Jesus’ questions. This one has to do with the question of family identity. The situation in which Jesus offers a radical new definition of family is this: Jesus is teaching and a large crowd gathered around him. His mother and brothers come to talk with him but can’t get to him because of the crowds. So they send a message through the crowd to Jesus: “Your mother and your brothers are outside, asking for you.” And Jesus replies with another question: “Who are my mother and my brothers and sisters?”

In one of the very few times in the bible, Jesus answers his own question! Looking at those who sat around him, Jesus said, “Here are my mother and my brothers and my sisters! Whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.”

Now, to us today, that doesn’t sound too radical. But that was like rubbing salt in an open wound to first century Jews. First of all, the 5th commandment is “to honor your father and mother,” so what Jesus did in answering this question brought great dishonor to Mary, his mother. And it also flew in the face of the very principal used in Jewish society: the importance of family.

So, why does Jesus ask this question; and even more importantly, why does he answer it the way he does? We’ll explore that and what it means for us and our faith this Sunday.

Blessings,

Dan

~ This Sunday’s Scripture ~

Mark 3: 31-38

Jesus asks a question of Identity: 

“Who is my mother, who are my brothers and sisters?”

Then Jesus’ mother and his brothers came; and standing outside, they sent to him and called him. A crowd was sitting around Jesus; and they said to him, ‘Your mother and your brothers are outside, asking for you.’ And Jesus replied, ‘Who are my mother and my brothers and sisters?’ And looking at those who sat around him, he said, ‘Here are my mother and my brothers and my sisters! Whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.’

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