Summary: Although not socially acceptable, Jesus prioritized God’s family over his physical family. Disciples of Jesus do the same.
In the last post, we learned how a Christian’s spiritual brothers and sisters are supposed to be the most important relationships in their life. This means that they’re the most intimate, nurturing and ultimately satisfying relationships. For many, this concept is quite the challenge, especially in cultures and with people taught that their blood families come first.
For Christians with physical family members that ARE Christians, the challenge is not to show favoritism to these spiritual brothers or sisters over others just because DNA is closely shared. It’s also to see them according to your spiritual relationship and not your physical one.
For Christians with physical family members who ARE NOT Christians, the challenge is prioritizing their spiritual family over their physical family, bucking the trend against what’s typically socially acceptable behavior.
Prioritizing God’s family isn’t socially acceptable
Prioritizing the family of God over one’s physical family definitely wasn’t socially acceptable in Jesus’ strong-group Mediterranean culture when He said this…
Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law—a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household. Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me. (Matthew 10:34-38)
He’s basically saying that commitment to Him and His family is going to create conflict between His family and physical families. At this point, there’s a choice to be made. Those who put Him and His family first are worthy of being part of it. Those who put their physical families first are not worthy of being part of it. He put it even more plainly here…
Then Jesus’ mother and brothers arrived. Standing outside, they sent someone in to call him. A crowd was sitting around him, and they told him, “Your mother and brothers are outside looking for you.” “Who are my mother and my brothers?” he asked. Then he looked at those seated in a circle around him and said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.” (Mark 3:31-55)