WELCOME TO THE FAMILY
O God, thank you for the price that was paid so that I could call you Father!
Read LUKE 8:16-21
A Lamp on a Stand
16 “No one lights a lamp and hides it in a clay jar or puts it under a bed. Instead, they put it on a stand, so that those who come in can see the light. 17 For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open. 18 Therefore consider carefully how you listen. Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what they think they have will be taken from them.”
Jesus’ Mother and Brothers
19 Now Jesus’ mother and brothers came to see him, but they were not able to get near him because of the crowd. 20 Someone told him, “Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to see you.”
21 He replied, “My mother and brothers are those who hear God’s word and put it into practice.”
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
‘The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs – heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ’.1
These sayings of Jesus follow directly from the parable of the four soils and continue to focus on our response to God’s message. First, there is the encouragement to live our lives in a way that makes the light of our faith visible, for God will bring all things into the light anyway. Then there is the cryptic saying about those who have been given more – and vice versa. This is a typical Jewish rabbinic saying and in this context is not about money or possessions but about spiritual understanding and revelation of God and his kingdom. Just as a muscle grows through exercise, so our spiritual insights increase through intentional use and practice, whereas they atrophy through passivity and standing still.
Jesus then makes a statement about family – those who hear God’s word and put it into practice are his mother and brothers. Note first that it is not enough to hear God’s word – as with the good soil and the lamp, we must implement it and do something intentional with it. This is about living a surrendered life of obedience. Second, this is not a repudiation of Jesus’ biological family: we know that they are important to Jesus. It is rather an extension of his family to include his spiritual relatives, known through their yielded discipleship.
Jesus is in essence welcoming his faithful disciples into God’s family. The Father leads the family, and Jesus is the elder brother. In this close relationship, Jesus loves us as he loved his mother Mary.2 Paul often draws on this family image, emphasizing the spirit of adoption which allows us to cry out, ‘Abba, Father’.3 In the ancient world, adoption was irrevocable, more permanent than biological family bonds. This invitation into Christ’s family is an unchangeable, lifelong bond of affection and intimacy, a true privilege for all who call Christ Lord.
Thank the Father for this unconditional welcome into his loving family.
Lord Jesus, give me understanding as I study your Word, and help me use that understanding to shine brightly in this world filled with darkness.
1 Rom 8:16,17 2 John 19:25–27 3 Rom 8:14–17
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