46 While he was still speaking to the people, behold, his mother and his brothers stood outside, asking to speak to him. 48 But he replied to the man who told him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” 49 And stretching out his hand toward his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! 50 For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.”
Can you imagine the scene? Jesus’ mother Mary shows up to talk to Him. This is the Mary who the Father himself chose as the vessel through which He would enter this world, and Jesus basically dismisses her request for an audience with Him.
We know from the Scripture that Jesus was a Rabbi and that He affirmed the teaching of the Old Testament, so how could He dishonor His mother in such a fashion when the 5th commandment is to honor your parents?
Is Jesus rejecting His family in this teaching?
Honestly, I don’t think so. I think Jesus is trying to teach us something about the Kingdom. Scripture affirms that Jesus had great concern for His mother. John records in his Gospel the request of the dying Christ to John is to care for Mary.
26 When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son!” 27 Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home.
So what is Jesus teaching us?
I think what Jesus is teaching us that our commitment to God and our commitment to the advancing Kingdom is preeminent. Jesus is stressing here that God’s plan comes before all other plans. I think it is easy to forget sometimes that the story of this life isn’t really about us but it is rather about God and His glory and His plan. Jesus echoed this saying, “the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees that Father doing.” (Jn 5:19, ESV) Even for Jesus his own story was secondary to the Father’s. So while we have relationships outside of our commitments to God, such as family and friends, none of these relationships stand before the relationship we have with God. This is the same for all who call upon Jesus for salvation.
So what is the application? For me Jesus seeming rejection of His mother and His brothers remind me that something greater is at work in this life than even the universal bond of family. It is a heavy affirmation that the Father commands us to lay everything else down and look to Him first in everything. I am challenged to think about many decisions I have made without giving the Father and Kingdom first consideration. I am reminded of how many times I looked at myself for direction and guidance instead of the one who created me. I am thankful for grace.
Heavenly Father, thank you for your plan. Thank you that part of your creative process included us who call upon you. Father, forgive us where we have not put you first. Father help us understand and live out the reality that we really can do nothing worthwhile by our own means, but rather it is only by putting you first, ahead of all things, that we experience true life and relationship. In Jesus name. Amen.