Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?...
This summer, we'll seek to understand Jesus' life and teachings by reading through the gospel of Matthew, complementing the teaching team's focus in their “Jesus Said” series. One of the most profound truths of Christianity is that Jesus was and is God. In order to know God, we can look at Jesus, for, as Paul wrote in Colossians, Jesus is "the image of the invisible God."
Read Matthew 12:38-50
Then some of the Pharisees and teachers of the law said to him, "Teacher, we want to see a sign from you."
He answered, "A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a sign! But none will be given it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. The men of Nineveh will stand up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and now something greater than Jonah is here. The Queen of the South will rise at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for she came from the ends of the earth to listen to Solomon's wisdom, and now something greater than Solomon is here.
"When an impure spirit comes out of a person, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. Then it says, 'I will return to the house I left.' When it arrives, it finds the house unoccupied, swept clean and put in order. Then it goes and takes with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that person is worse than the first. That is how it will be with this wicked generation."
While Jesus was still talking to the crowd, his mother and brothers stood outside, wanting to speak to him. Someone told him, "Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to speak to you."
He replied to him, "Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?" 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."
Jesus makes several interesting points here about who the people of God are. He talks about the Old Testament Jewish prophet Jonah, who went to the non-Jewish city of Nineveh, whose people repented after Jonah's preaching. He also mentions the non-Jewish Queen of the South, who centuries earlier visited King Solomon of Israel and recognized his wisdom. Finally, Jesus names all of his disciples and anyone who does his Father's will as "my brother and sister and mother."
Reread this passage, keeping in mind these ideas about who Jesus includes in his kingdom. Thank him for making you part of his family, his brother or sister.