Christian Universe ™
Behold My Mother And My Brethren!
September 20, 2009
God's chosen people are family in Christ Jesus. As brothers and sisters, we should want to love and serve one another. The early disciples gave us this example, and Christ and the apostles taught this. One of the most important ways that we serve is to meet the material needs of our fellow saints.
Behold My Mother And My Brethren!
By Bernie Parsons
Presented to Globe church of Christ on 09-20-2009
Mark 3:31: “There came then his brethren and his mother, and, standing without, sent unto him, calling him.
32: And the multitude sat about him, and they said unto him, Behold, thy mother and thy brethren without seek for thee.
33: And he answered them, saying, Who is my mother, or my brethren?
34: And he looked round about on them which sat about him, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren!
35: For whosoever shall do the will of God, the same is my brother, and my sister, and mother.”
With His declaration, “Behold my mother and my brethren!” Jesus established an important premise about the ekklesia, or the called-out assembly. It is more than a social group, or a collection of like-minded believers—it is a family.
Ephesians 3:14: “For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
15: Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named,
16: That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;
17: That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,
18: May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height;
19: And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.”
The apostle Paul stated to the called-out assembly at Ephesus that this family is united in heaven and upon the earth. That is, we are one family, regardless of where we reside. In his letter to the ekklesia at Rome, Paul referred to an adoption as children of God.
Romans 8:11: “But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.
12: Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh.
13: For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.
14: For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.
15: For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.
16: The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:
17: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.
18: For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
19: For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.
20: For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope,
21: Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.
22: For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.
23: And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.”
As believers in, and followers of, Jesus Christ, God becomes our Father, and we are His children. As fellow believers, we become brothers and sisters, a spiritual family.
Jesus referred to this as being born again.
John 3:1: “There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews:
2: The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.
3: Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
4: Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born?
5: Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.”
Whether we understand that we have been reborn into the family of God by way of water and spirit, or we view ourselves as having been spiritually adopted by God, either way, we are His children, and that makes us family in God.
As the Christian family, we share a faith and love as no other family. We often hear people say of their relatives, “Blood is thicker than water.” That has led me to think about how we become family in Christ Jesus. By baptism in water, we are added to the family of God. Water binds us together. The blood of Jesus, who died to take away our sins, washes away our sins. So, water and blood are both thick in the case of Christians!
When Peter complained that the disciples who traveled with Jesus had given up everything, the following answer is found in the book of Mark.
Mark 10:29: “And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel's,
30: But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life.”
These remarks by Jesus underscore the fact that we are family in Christ. He told His disciples that the things that they had sacrificed would be multiplied a hundred times over. In the family of God, we have hundreds of brothers, sisters, mothers, children, houses and lands. Why? Because, in Christ, we share with one another.
We saw this among the first Christians.
Acts 2:37: “Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?
38: Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
39: For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.
40: And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation.
41: Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.
42: And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.
43: And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles.
44: And all that believed were together, and had all things common;
45: And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need.
46: And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart,
47: Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.”
These followers of Christ felt so close to one another that they met in each other’s houses, sharing meals, studying the scriptures, and sharing the joy of salvation. They also saw to one another’s needs. Paul wrote to Timothy to treat his fellow Christians as family.
1 Timothy 5:1: “Rebuke not an elder, but intreat him as a father; and the younger men as brethren;
2: The elder women as mothers; the younger as sisters, with all purity.
3: Honour widows that are widows indeed.
4: But if any widow have children or nephews, let them learn first to shew piety at home, and to requite their parents: for that is good and acceptable before God.
5: Now she that is a widow indeed, and desolate, trusteth in God, and continueth in supplications and prayers night and day.”
1 Timothy 5:16: “If any man or woman that believeth have widows, let them relieve them, and let not the church be charged; that it may relieve them that are widows indeed.”
Acts 6:1: “And in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplied, there arose a murmuring of the Grecians against the Hebrews, because their widows were neglected in the daily ministration.”
This included taking care of the widows who had no one to take care of their needs. This contrasts with what the Jewish leadership was doing to the widows, and to parents.
Matthew 23:14: “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye devour widows' houses, and for a pretence make long prayer: therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation.”
Matthew 15:4: “For God commanded, saying, Honour thy father and mother: and, He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death.
5: But ye say, Whosoever shall say to his father or his mother, It is a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me;
6: And honour not his father or his mother, he shall be free. Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition.”
Also, regarding our brothers and sisters:
James 2:15 “If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food,
16: And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?”
1 John 3:17 “But whoso hath this world's good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?
18: My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.”
We are family in Christ, the family of God, fellow family members with God’s children in heaven and on the earth. As such, we work together, eat together, study the scriptures together, share our homes and lands with one another, and regard one another as family. This includes meeting the needs of our Christian brothers and sisters, and of the widows who have no Christian blood relatives to care for them.
As Jesus said, “Behold my mother and my brethren!”