Is blood thicker than water? The question reflects the contrast of family loyalty with other relationships. Don’t mess with the family. Except that for many, the close friends we have can become family because of the way we do life together and support each other…
Now Jesus’ mother and brothers came to see him, but they were not able to get near him because of the crowd. Someone told him, “Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to see you.” He replied, “My mother and brothers are those who hear God’s word and put it into practice.”
It’s hard to explain, and when Jesus is told that his family is outside, his answer comes off like he doesn’t care about his own Mom. Who doesn’t care about their own Mom?!?!? Okay, we know Jesus cares about his Mom, because when he is hanging on the cross, he makes sure that John is committed to take care of her for the rest of her life. So that isn’t what this is about, is it?
We know Jesus wasn’t trying to show disrespect to his family. That isn’t what this is about. So what gives? Jesus’ statement shows that his greatest alignment was felt with people who listened to and lived out his teachings. The people in the world who were most aligned with his mission and purpose were the people to whom Jesus felt most connected.
In fact, when we receive Jesus and his message of grace, we become the children of God, who John clarifies are not born of natural descent (John 1:13). The family of God is not related by the blood of ancestors – it is by the blood of Jesus we are related to him and each other. And that blood, my friends, is thicker than familial blood.
All this from Jesus, who also said that his food is to do the will of his Father – God’s will was more important to Jesus than food (John 4:34). Another tough teaching which illustrates the point that Jesus’ mission and the things of God are not measured the same as the things of earth.
So what do your relationships look like? Is your commitment to God before your commitment to family?
Could family be an obstacle that comes between us and God? The answer is that there should be room for both. God commands us to honour our parents, and so we know there is a way forward. The point is that the call of Jesus on our lives is first and foremost, and the family of God is related by the blood of Jesus.