Now Jesus’ mother and brothers came to see him, but they were not able to get near him because of the crowd. Someone told him, “Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to see you.” He replied, “My mother and brothers are those who hear God’s word and put it into practice.” (Luke 8:19-21)
I have two sisters, one whose heart is loving and one whose heart I barely know because she hides it from me. I know there’s good in her because she took great care of Mom before Mom died. We have wronged each other, and I have apologized for hurting her, at least the hurt I know of. But she won’t apologize to me or my child. Although I’ve forgiven her, there’s no trust to build a relationship of love. Yet I know God wants us to love each other. I feel like a hypocrite presenting God’s word when I don’t love my sister, but I pray about it.
On the surface, Jesus statement seems harsh. But Mark 3 gives more details about this incident: “When his family heard about this (crowds gathering around Jesus), they went to take charge of him, for they said, ‘He is out of his mind.’” (verse 21) Jesus implies he’ll forgive his family (verse 28), but he also captures a teaching moment, “whoever does God’s will is my brother, my sister, and my mother (verse 35.) I’ve used Luke 8:21 to reason my sister isn’t family, but Mark makes it clear that, once forgiven, Mary and his brothers were among those who hear God’s word and put it into practice. Luke infers it too because Jesus never claims to have more than one mother. There’s no doubt Jesus loves his biological family and us.
Father God, thank you for Your perfect love. Help me return Your love through searching Your word and putting it into practice. Forgive me when I misinterpret what you say, and help me to love those I don’t. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.