The Priority of Spiritual Relationshps

The Priority of Spiritual Relationships

Matthew 12:48-50

  • “Jesus answered the one who was telling Him and said, ‘Who is My mother and who are My brothers?’ And stretching out His hand toward His disciples, He said, ‘Behold My mother and My brothers! For whoever does the will of My Father who is in heaven, he is My brother and sister and mother.’”

While Jesus was teaching the engrossed crowds, His mother and brothers came looking for Him. Someone informed Jesus of their request to speak to Him. What was Christ’s response to this interruption? We must remember that Christ took His teaching activity very seriously. He later told Pilate, “For this I have come into the world, to testify to the truth” (John 18:37). Early in His ministry, Jesus also said, “Let us go somewhere else to the towns nearby, so that I may preach there also; for that is what I came for” (Mark 1:38). Therefore, Jesus was conscious that He must preach and teach, that people might know the gospel of the kingdom and believe the truth of God. On this particular occasion, Christ’s earthly family were interrupting the very teaching that was His priority.

We must remember that Jesus held the family in high esteem. He taught the importance of marriage (Matt. 19:4-6), the importance of children (19:14), and provided for His own mother (John 19:26-27). However, He also had a keen sense of priorities. In this instance, Jesus realized that teaching these receptive disciples must come before any earthly family tie. He taught that spiritual relationships of brothers and sisters within the family of God must take precedence over earthly and physical relationships. He also stresses that those who do the will of the Father (v. 50; Mark 3:35) and who “hear the word of God and do it” (Luke 8:21) enjoy a special spiritual relationship with Him that mere physical relationships do not experience.

We too must have a deep love and respect for our physical family (father and mother, brother and sister, son and daughter, husband or wife, uncle and aunt, grandparents, and others). However, we must have a deep awareness that our spiritual brothers and sisters in the eternal family of God the Father are to have our priority. Those who respond to the word of God and obey the will of God are to take precedence over those who obey their own will and follow their own ways. Happy is the person whose physical family also is part of his spiritual family; in this case, there can be a sweet and delightful relationship that will never end! But always let us remember this radical teaching of Christ that should order our relationships of life!

Richard Hollerman

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