Jesus had a family. This is a fairly obvious statement, but we don’t often think about it. Though Scripture doesn’t reveal much about Jesus’ immediate family, we have brief glimpses of His mother, brothers, and sisters throughout the gospel record (Matt. 13:55–56). Two of Jesus’ brothers, James and Jude, authored two New Testament letters. Jesus knows well that a family dynamic can sometimes be tricky, especially when one is accused of being a lunatic (Mark 3:21). Jesus knows about tension in the home, what it means to relate to siblings, and the joy and even frustration of family relationships. What an enormous comfort for us—Jesus knows.
There’s a peculiar incident in Mark 3 when Mary and Jesus’ brothers appear on the scene of a local home in which He is teaching. They call Him from outside the house, seeking His attention (Mark 3:31). So focused on His instruction is Jesus that He seems to ignore the call, to the point that those sitting around Him say, “Your mother and your brothers are outside, seeking you” (v. 32). Then Jesus says something quite shocking: “Who are my mother and my brothers?” (v. 33). Imagine Mary’s dismay and His brothers’ disgruntlement upon hearing these words. We know that Jesus deeply loved His mother. Even during His suffering on the cross, He affectionately entrusted His mother’s care to His beloved disciple (John 19:26–27). But in this story, Jesus is emphasizing something much bigger than mere earthly families. He’s saying, “My commission as a Savior is to bring sinners into the family of My heavenly Father, which has far greater significance than earthly relationships.”
Jesus was sent by the Father into a human family to create a new family. “And looking about at those who sat around him, he said, ‘Here are my mother and my brothers!’ ” (Mark 3:34). With these tenderly loving words, Jesus inaugurates a new family—not of the flesh but the Spirit. He’s looking around this house, pointing to those around Him, saying, “You are My mother and My brothers.” The relationship we share in union with Christ supersedes any earthly relationship we possess. A relationship rooted in a gospel of death, resurrection, and ascension, established before the foundation of the world. A relationship that allows us to cry out, “Abba, Father!” To deny His blood relatives as His mother and brothers is shocking in any culture, but what should be more surprising is Jesus’ taking the enemies of God—you and me—and making us His brothers and sisters.
Jesus identifies those within His new family as those who accomplish the will of God: “Whoever does the will of God, he is my brother and sister and mother” (v. 35). What are the marks of those who belong to this new family? They repent of their sin, embrace Christ by faith, and obey God’s commands to walk a life of faithfulness and holiness. Have you done that? If not, let me invite you to do that now and be welcomed into the family of God by an all-loving Brother.