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Our Spiritual Family

Matthew 12:49–50 (ESV) … “And stretching out his hand toward 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 point[ed] to his disciples and answered his own question. The types of people who can have a relationship with him are those who do the Father’s will. They listen, learn, believe, and follow. Obedience is the key to discipleship. In these words, Jesus explained that in his spiritual family, the relationships are ultimately more important and longer lasting than those formed in his physical family.

Jesus was not denying his responsibility to his earthly family. On the contrary, he would criticize the religious leaders for not following the Old Testament command to honor their parents (Matthew 15:1–9). He would provide for his mother’s security as he hung on the cross (John 19:25–27). His mother and brothers would be present in the upper room at Pentecost (Acts 1:14). Instead, Jesus was pointing out that spiritual relationships are as binding as physical ones, and he was paving the way for a new community of believers to be formed as Jesus’ spiritual family. This family would be characterized by love; the members should desire to be together, work together, and share one another’s burdens.[1]

[1] Barton, B. B. (1996). Matthew (pp. 252–253). Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers.

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