Mark 3:31-35 English Standard Version
Jesus’ Mother and Brothers
31 And his mother and his brothers came, and standing outside they sent to him and called him. 32 And a crowd was sitting around him, and they said to him, “Your mother and your brothers[a] are outside, seeking you.” 33 And he answered them, “Who are my mother and my brothers?” 34 And looking about at those who sat around him, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! 35 For whoever does the will of God, he is my brother and sister and mother.”
The Word of God for the Children of God.
Adeste Fideles! Laeti Triumphantes! Venite Adoremus! Dominum.
Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Amen.
More than one hundred years ago, just before the outbreak of World War I, Congress passed a resolution to honor mothers on the second Sunday in May.
For the last century, we have celebrated Mother’s Day as a day of reverence for the unique and sacred institution of motherhood.
Today, however, our culture is increasingly confused about a mother’s role.
Some influential voices disparage motherhood in the name of liberation: “The home,” they say, “is your prison! Free yourself by joining the job market!”
At the same time, women who pursue the privilege of motherhood are not always valued as the sacred and beautiful gifts to humanity Scripture declares them to be.
God, in response to such a confusion, gives us the Bible, which unambiguously affirms that the freedom available only through Jesus Christ extends to all areas of our lives—including the details of of God’s gift to humankind: motherhood.
Mothers are one of the greatest signposts God ever fixed on the earth, carrying on daily with indomitable strength, love, consistency, the healing art, and just knowing exactly the right words to say at just exactly the right time to be said.
The amazing love and effectiveness mothers display demonstrates, in tens of thousands of ways, that forever behind them there is a God who also cares.
And where even the best of mothers cannot reach us, heal us, or offer the right words, there is someone even infinitely stronger, and more perfect and more availing.
Loving mothers point us to a loving God.
Being a mother, God reminds us, is a God-given privilege that is worthy of all honor and respect.
Through important responsibilities such as loving her family, making a home, and following the leadership of her husband, a Godly mother has the potential for great influence in her holy calling in the Godly life of her biological family.
Yet, we must also remember that God cannot be limited by our definitions and our celebrations of who and what we believe and hold sacred as “Our Family.”
Jesus’ family can be found where the words of Jesus and the will of God are cherished and obeyed.
This is not said to even minimally slight those with whom we have biological family ties.
However, it is a reminder that our family relationship in the Spirit of God is stronger than even our ties to our physical families.
Jesus’ family is the forever-family of people who love him, obey him, and allow his Holy Spirit to lead, guide, and empower them.
What Might Jesus “Make” of our “Mother’s Day?”
Mark 3:31-35 The Message
Jesus’ Mother and Brothers
31-32 Just then his mother and brothers showed up. Standing outside, they relayed a message that they wanted a word with him. He was surrounded by the crowd when he was given the message, “Your mother and brothers and sisters are outside looking for you.”
33-35 Jesus responded, “Who do you think are my mother and brothers?” Looking around, taking in everyone seated around him, he said, “Right here, right in front of you—my mother and my brothers. Obedience is thicker than blood. The person who obeys God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.”
Though most of us love our families, we know there can be times of making mistakes, hurting one another, and disagreeing with each other.
When conflicts come up, we should try to resolve them.
And when we need wisdom, it can help to be able to rely on the family of God, which can offer love and support as well.
Today’s episode took place early in Jesus’ ministry.
Jesus was attracting large crowds because of his teaching and healing.
His family members had heard some reports, and they thought Jesus might be “out of his mind”—though he wasn’t, of course.
When he was told they had come looking for him, he gave what might seem a surprising answer.
Jesus began with a question: “Who are my mother and my brothers?”
He was not disrespecting his biological family here; he used this as a “teaching moment” for all his listeners—including us.
He pointed out a much larger and more important family, the family of God.
Then he explained how to become part of this family: “Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.”
Jesus, God’s Son, invites all of us into his family.
And to all who receive him and believe in his name, he gives “the right to become children of God.”
Trust in Jesus today as your Lord and Savior, and you will be part of his forever family.
Who is My Family?
Again, in today’s Gospel Narrative, we find Rabbi Jesus sharing life and ministry with the people in his closest circle, the ones who believed in him and had given up everything to follow him.
Together they were doing the will of God the Father.
They were Jesus’ spiritual family.
The point of Jesus’ naming his followers as family was not to dismiss the importance of his biological relatives but to show that the connection with fellow believers was vitally important.
God wills for his people to be in community, to strengthen one another in faith, to rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn (Romans 12:15).
Our witness to the world as Christ-followers, as God’s family, can be that we clearly reveal our love for our family of God: “love one another” (John 13:34-35).
Sometimes our biological families disappoint, discourage, or dismiss us.
But we also need to remember that God also calls us unto a higher and wider network—to be the family of God together.
When we love and support one another, seeking to faithfully do God’s will and faithfully come together, to walk and work together, we follow Jesus’ example of cherishing our spiritual brothers and sisters as we each fellowship together.
We Are All Related to God by Faith in His Son Jesus
In many countries at some time of the year there is a focus of gratitude and celebration for the life and influence of mothers.
Today is such a day as we come together and we celebrate Mothers Day.
On this day we generally celebrate the mothers who gave us birth, or adopted us, or stood in a mother’s place for us (such as an aunt or grandmother).
We give thanks to God for and rightly honor the people who have faithfully, sometimes not so faithfully, gave us her womb, cared for us and loved us.
In God’s family the basis of our relationships is Godly love and care as well.
Being part of God’s family is about recognizing the love and provisions we receive from God, coming to faith by God’s grace, and then connecting with others who have a similar relationship with God—and inviting still others whom God wants us to take the time to invite and welcome into his family.
As we learn about how the early church developed, we see that the mother of Jesus became part of the household of his faithful, faith-filled disciple John.
By tradition, She also became a “mother” unto John and took care of him.
Before he died, Jesus made sure that this relationship of mutual adoption framed both their futures even as he paid the ultimate price for all our sin.
Let’s not forget about this important link between Mother Mary and John.
The early church was noted for their faithful love for one another in Christ.
“Jesus formed a new family, no longer based on natural ties but on faith in Him, on His love which welcomes us and unites us to each other, in the Holy Spirit. All those who welcome Jesus’ word are children of God and brothers and sisters among themselves. Welcoming the word of Jesus makes us brothers and sisters, makes us Jesus’ family. Speaking ill of others, destroying others’ reputations, makes us the devil’s family. Jesus’ response was not a lack of respect for His mother and His brethren. Rather, for Mary it is the greatest recognition, precisely because she herself is the perfect disciple who completely obeyed God’s will. May the Virgin Mother help us to live always in communion with Jesus, recognizing the work of the Holy Spirit who acts in him and in the Church, regenerating the world to new life.”…Pope Francis – Angelus, 10 June 2018
May we follow that faithful example today too, live into, out of, that legacy.
In the name of God, the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit,
Let us Pray,
God, today, we celebrate mothers, but the truth is, we ought to celebrate them every single day. Their love manifests in small, subtle ways each day–in the mundane that sometimes we can take for granted. We thank you for their sacrificial love and ask you alone to uplift them today. Thank you for the gift they are in our lives. When our mothers are tired, Lord, give them strength. When they feel alone, give them comfort. When they feel overwhelmed with the challenges of parenting, help them to know peace. In their darkest moments, be their Light. At times in our lives, our mothers are everything to us, meeting our every need. We ask You to provide them today with whatever gift they need. In gratitude, we pray. In Your name alone we pray. Amen.
Heavenly Father, how amazing to realize that by grace through faith in our Savior Christ I have become a member of Your holy, heavenly family and that in Him I have mercy and the forgiveness of sins and life everlasting. Lord, give us your eyes to see and your heart to love all who are walking in faith along with us. May our love for you finally unite us as your family. Father God, in your family help us to live by love, hospitality, and generosity for Jesus’ sake. Thank You for this amazing relationship that I have in Christ Jesus and I pray that by Your grace I may present my body as a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to You – for Your praise and glory. in Jesus name.