June 9 & 10, 2018
How’s your family? What would you answer if I were to ask you this question? It would probably depend on a number of things – was one of your family members sick recently? Do you have a family member in the hospital, away at college, in the military? Maybe a good answer would be: WHICH FAMILY are you asking about?
As I was growing up, I thought of my family as my parents, 2 sisters and brother… of course also my grandparents on my mom’s side and my grandparents on my dad’s side; and the “family” of Aunts, Uncles and cousins (dad was one of 13 children / mom was one of 10 children – and they all had children – cousins by the dozens!). And then, when Connilee and I got married – also Connilee’s parents; and her sisters, and spouses and nieces and nephews. And then our children got married and there is our son-in-law and daughter-in-law – and of course our grandchildren!
God’s Word is all about families – God’s design was for families – husband and wife / Adam & Eve to “be fruitful and multiply;” to Noah; Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and all the families – genealogies that we find in the Bible – all leading up to The family of Mary & Joseph and Jesus!
And that’s one set of families. In both Genesis 3 and in Mark 3 we have a VERY SIGNIFICANT and maybe not often realized – distinction of 2 types of “families.”
Genesis 3 records the Fall into Sin – the ruining of God’s original perfect plan for “family” and His whole creation. The verses we read – v.8-15 are the pathetic excuses that Adam & Eve tried to use, and then we have one of the most important verses of the Bible – Genesis 3:15: “I will put enmity (hostility, animosity) between you (the devil disguised as the serpent) and the woman, and between your “seed” (offspring, family) and hers; He (the “seed” of the woman) will crush your head, and you (the devil) will strike His heal.” This is the first promise of Jesus – and all the verses following are in fulfillment of this divine promise!
Also, notice how this distinguishes TWO OPPOSITE FAMILIES. Because of the Fall into Sin, there are now two types of “families” in the world – the “family” of the devil (unbelievers, those who reject Jesus Christ and His Word) and those who are Children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. Note the differences: Cain killed Abel; the wicked generation of Noah’s day; the citizens of Sodom & Gomorrah; Pharaoh and the Children of Israel; Goliath and David; Nebuchadnezzar and God’s chosen people; King Herod and the Magi…
Because of original sin, we are all born into the WRONG “family” of the devil – “Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.” Psalm 51:5 Jesus told Nicodemus, “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.” John 3:5
Yes, there are two types of families – and that is what Jesus teaches in this weekend’s Gospel reading. It was early in Jesus’ ministry, and the crowds were gathering around Jesus “so that Jesus and His disciples were not even able to eat. When Jesus’ family heard about this, they went to take charge of Him (also the word for “arrest”), for they said, ‘He is out of His mind.’” This was a “family intervention” – Were they trying to rescue Jesus from the crowds and from Himself? Were they embarrassed by Jesus’ words and actions? Surely, it was done with the best of intentions.
When Jesus was told: “ ‘Your mother and brothers are outside looking for You.’ Jesus asked a question and answered it with a revolutionary statement. He asked, “Who are my mother and brothers?” Then Jesus looked around the group and said, “This is my “family”. Whoever does the will of God is My brother, sister, and mother.”
Jesus wasn’t rejecting His earthly family. (Remember, at the foot of the cross Jesus’ provided for the care of His mother, Mary. And James, one of the half-brothers of Jesus, became one of the leaders of the early church. Acts 15:13) Jesus was stating that a spiritual connection is stronger than any biological connection. You’ve heard the phrase, “blood is thicker than water.” It usually implies that family ties are stronger than friendship bonds. But let me revise it: “Jesus’ blood is thicker than family blood.” In other words, Jesus is teaching us that the most important family in the world is the Family of God, the church.
Many of us were adopted into this Family of Faith through the waters of holy Baptism – others through the teaching about Jesus first and then adult baptism. God’s Word clearly says: “You are all sons (legal heirs) of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.” (Galatians 3:26-27)
Also, one of the greatest things about birthdays and holidays is that families celebrate together. Because of the special love for the family members we come together as often as possible – almost always including food and drink – to encourage and enjoy being together.
That’s what God has designed for His Family of Faith – that’s what we do every week in public worship and other activities – calling us into a loving, caring congregation of brothers and sisters in Christ / adopting more “family members” through the waters of Baptism; feeding and strengthening all the members with His “Bread of Life” – God’s holy, precious Word – and the Lord’s Supper. And working together to carry out “the will of our Father in heaven.”
God’s will is what “the crowd” was doing and we are doing here – first, listening to Jesus and His Word and then not just listening to His Word but being sent out to DO His will in our homes, work places, neighborhoods, communities.
So, how’s your family? We are blessed by Jesus to be a blessing to each other and to the world! Thanks be to God that we are called, forgiven and empowered to do the will of God every day, in every activity God gives us!
Looking forward to having you with us at the “family reunion” this next weekend as we celebrate Father’s Day and receive God’s wonderful blessings for another week of blessed to be a blessing in our family, community, the world.