While he was still speaking to the crowds, his mother and his brothers were standing outside, wanting to speak to him. Someone told him, “Look, your mother and your brothers are standing outside, wanting to speak to you.” But to the one who had told him this, Jesus replied, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” And 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 12:46-50 NRSV)
When I first heard this story, I thought that Jesus was being quite rude. He seemed to be disregarding his own family- choosing his disciples as his new family- even as his mother and brothers waited outside to see him. I felt sad for his family and wondered how they must have felt to hear him say those words.
But Jesus’ question is not one of exclusion but inclusion. Jesus was not rejecting his birth family, he was including any others who longed to follow God’s will. Jesus embraced and welcomed those who wanted to be part of his family, who wanted to walk with him and serve with him, who wanted to receive and share his love.
Jesus models a profound example for us. Whether we have a family of origin, a church community, a circle of friends, a small group, or a larger club- any group of people who are united by our love of God and one another- we are richly blessed. We can receive so many gifts in our sharing of life together. With our family through faith, we learn and grow, share and listen, serve and care, support and depend on one another.
Our family circle is meant to increase. May we never forget to also welcome and include, invite and embrace, all who long to belong- just as Jesus would do.
Are you talking to ME?
Today Jesus is asking, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?”
How does being a family member with Jesus make you feel? Is there someone else you would like to include? Has your family of origin been united in faith? Are you part of another group that is connected through their love of God? Is this group growing and welcoming? Are you being nudged to begin such a family?
Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?