whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother. (Mt 12:50)
In chapter 12 of his gospel, Matthew presents the rising opposition to Jesus’ teaching and ministry as demonstrated by two Sabbath controversies (vss. 1-21) and His exorcistic activity (vss. 22-45). Like the chapter before it, which presented the imprisonment of John and proclamation of woe to a spiritually privileged but unrepentant people, chapter 12 is likewise, filled with controversy. But also like chapter 11, which concluded with a precious promise of rest to the burdened, chapter 12 likewise ends with a promise to disciples who Jesus Christ counts as his personal brothers, sisters and mother.
Next Sunday is celebrated as “Mother’s Day” in our country. While we do not feel pressured to bend to the traditions of men, on this occasion, due to the proximity of this text in chapter 12, we will intentionally go a bit out of order in our exposition of Matthew and consider these 5 encouraging verses concerning Jesus’ true family. But instead of a sentimental message about the importance and value of earthly mothers and family (as important as they are), this text will challenge our thinking as to who we ought to give priority to in our lives. We all love our family; we are most comfortable communicating and serving and visiting with our physical mother, brothers and sisters; however, this text challenges us with a very different definition of who, in fact, is family. Clearly Jesus defines His family by pointing to His disciples, (“whoever does the will of my Father.”) It is in the same vain in Mark 10:29-30, Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands … This is fulfilled in Christ’s church, or at least it is supposed to be.
So while there is nothing wrong with celebrating the sacrifice and love of your own mother; while there is nothing wrong with having a close spot in your heart for your physical family; this kind of love is only to serve as an example of how we are to love our brothers, sisters, and mother of Christ in your church. Next Sunday, look around the gathered assembly of God’s people, and behold your brother, your sister, and your mother.