A Spiritual Family (Matthew 12:46-50)
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A Spiritual Family (Matthew 12:46-50)

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As Jesus was speaking to the crowd, his mother and brothers stood outside, asking to speak to him. Someone told Jesus, “Your mother and your brothers are standing outside, and they want to speak to you.” Jesus asked, “Who is my mother? Who are my brothers?” Then he pointed to his disciples and said, “Look, these are my mother and brothers. Anyone who does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother!”

As we follow Jesus, He EMPOWERS us to MAKE A DIFFERENCE.

Overall Commentary: 🌎

Jesus is finishing His interaction with His religious enemies who have openly come out against Him. Even when dealing with these people, Jesus is showing us how to engage the world around us and show hope in dark places.

As we follow Jesus, He invites us into a Spiritual Family.

Jesus finishes this discourse reminding everyone of His goal. He came to fix the separation between Creator and Creation. He wants a spiritual family, and He has invited you.


Verse 46-50 A Spiritual family.

  • His Mother and Brothers stood outside- Did you know Jesus had a family? After Mary gave birth to Jesus, she and Joseph had a large family. Jesus had at least three half-brothers and sisters. Speaking of Joseph, did you notice his name is not mentioned in the group of Jesus' family that came for Him? Most scholars believe Joseph died earlier in Jesus' life and is dead by this point. As the oldest son, this means Jesus would have likely taken on the mantle of the "father figure" in the household. This would mean the responsibility of providing for the family and marrying off the daughters. Can you imagine coming to ask Jesus if you could marry His sister?
  • Why are they asking Jesus to come to them?- We don't get the details in the Book of Matthew, but the Gospel of Mark gives us further details. According to Mark 3, they came for Jesus because they thought He was "out of His mind." They did not believe Jesus was the Messiah until after His resurrection. Jesus later appears to his oldest brother James, and then everyone else. According to Acts 1, Mary and the rest of the family were in the Upper Room on the Day of Pentecost. James also later became a leader of the early church.
  • Pointed to His disciples- Jesus always had His disciples close. Even when disagreeing with His enemies, Jesus keeps them close and teaches them along the way.
  • Special passage- This passage is rare. Only a few stories of Jesus made it into three of the four Gospels.
  • Anyone- Jesus opens the door for all people, including the Gentiles.
  • Does the will of my Father- Notice the key to being in the Kingdom of God. In today's culture, many think the key to being in God's family is to pray or simply make a public declaration. Jesus declares it is the active participation in the Kingdom of God. This doesn't mean you can lose your salvation. This means that receiving salvation brings with it a change of affection. You now give your life and allegiance to the Lord and do His will.
  • Shocking?- Jesus saying those around Him were His family would have been shocking. The Jewish culture of the first century was extremely family-centric. It was an honor/shame culture where people would rather die than dishonor their families. Jesus is not downplaying this culture. He is elevating the church.
  • Is Jesus saying we should not care about our families?- No. Jesus later criticizes the Pharisees for not honoring their parents in Matthew 15. In the Gospel of John, Jesus also secures care for His mother while on the Cross. Jesus is elevating the importance of the family of God.

What can we learn from this passage?

We cannot choose the family we are born into, but we can choose to become part of a spiritual family. We can look throughout the New Testament and see how the family of God is supposed to honor one another. Perhaps my favorite is James 5. James discusses the need to honor others and walk together in this final chapter. This is made extra special when you realize Jesus' half-brother writes this. Where do you think He learned it from?

Questions/Journal Prompts for reflection:

  1. Have you ever thought of church as something other than a family?
  2. Why is it sometimes hard to see yourself as God’s child?
  3. Which of “God’s designs for us” is difficult for you?
  4. After today’s message, what is your next step?

Resources For Further Study