Here are my mother and my brothers. 

Every human being has a deep desire to belong.   We long to be part of a loving family.   We want to be respected and accepted by our peers.   We want our concerns to be listened to and understood.   We want to be loved.   If you can identify with these longings, what you’re saying deep down is “I want to belong to God and his family.”

In Scripture, Jesus says that anyone who does his Father’s will is his brother and sister and mother—anyone who listens to Jesus and tries to follow him.   Of course Jesus greatly loved and respected his mother.   He certainly would not diminish Mary.   What he is saying is that something more powerful than a bloodline defines who belongs to his family.

What did Jesus see when he looked around at his friends and followers?   Surely he knew what an immature, motley crew they were.   He knew how little they grasped what he was trying to tell them.   Again and again, we read, “The word remained hidden from them and they failed to comprehend what he said”.   It’s true that they genuinely desired to do his Father’s will—why else would they leave so much behind to become his disciples?   But it’s also clear that what Jesus praised here was much more a potential than a reality.

Try to imagine Jesus’ thoughts as he looked at this group of people assembled before him.   Father, I love them so much. I know how confused and prone to failure they are, but I also see how deeply they long to know you.   Thank you for giving me such a wonderful family of faith!   He regarded them as sisters and brothers, and so they were.

Jesus placed this band of disciples on par with his own mother—sit with this truth for a moment.   Now tell yourself that he thinks the same about you.   You are in exactly the same situation: you are brother or sister or mother to Jesus.   You want to please him; you want to follow him; you want to become more like him.   Of course you’re going to stumble along the way, but you can still be sure of this reality: Jesus loves you just as you are right now.

word among us