As we celebrate and reflect on Jesus’ death and resurrection, it’s so important to meditate on the profound impact it has on our relationships. It may sound obvious to some of us, but we can often take this for granted or overlook how it should affect our definition of ‘family’. I am always reminded of how important this is when I read John 19:25-27.
Happy Easter everyone!
I hope the last few days have been both sobering and a celebration. I’m always mesmerised by Jesus and his cross, and taking the time to reflect on it this time of year is such an amazing privilege.
As I think about Easter, I’m always drawn to how deep and rich the story is. All of the things Jesus achieved through his sacrifice are exciting, humbling, and awe-inspiring. And I just wanted to share one point, that you may very well be aware of, but I always think is worth saying.
Naturally, doing the work I do around building healthy relationships, I’m always drawn to the relational impact our faith has. And I was reminded of a passage in John 19, which records some of the words Jesus spoke when he was dying on the cross:
Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing near by, he said to her, ‘Woman, here is your son,’ and to the disciple, ‘Here is your mother.’ From that time on, [John] took her into his home.
This is one of those verses which I can easily read over and not pay too much attention to. But like always, when we dig a little bit deeper, it teaches us so much.
Jesus, while he is hanging on the cross, while he is dying, is redefining what it means to be family. He says ‘this is your mother’, and ‘this is your son’, to two people that are only linked because of him.
He acted on what Jesus said and what he did
What’s amazing, is that John didn’t just think Jesus’ words were a nice idea or a nice phrase. We often hear people in church refer to each other as brother and sister, and it can lose meaning. But this new command and new understanding from Jesus caused John to actually bring Mary into his home and treat her like family. He acted on what Jesus said and what he did.
Mary had Blood Relatives
It’s quite clear from other passages in the Bible that Jesus had younger siblings. There was family that Mary could have stayed with and been looked after by. Which, especially in a culture which had a big emphasis on family and looking after your elders, they would have undoubtedly been prepared to do.
Yet Jesus seems to be suggesting that it’s no longer about blood relations anymore. It’s about knowing him, believing in what he did in that moment. He is the link. (Read Saved By Faith Vs Saved By Belief: The Crucial Difference). The cross means we love and look after other believers and treat them like family.
While Jesus was still talking to the crowd, his mother and brothers stood outside, wanting to speak to him. Someone told him, ‘Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to speak to you.’ He replied to him, ‘Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?’ Pointing to his disciples, he said, ‘Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.’ Matthew 12:46-50.
Much more could be said, and much more could be added to this point, but for me, this verse stresses the importance of creating a new family based around faith in Jesus. Yes salvation is individual and Jesus meets each person individually, but it doesn’t end there.
We are saved into a family
We are saved into a family, a family that isn’t defined by status, or blood ties, or ability, but on what Jesus did at Easter. This should cause us to love and treat fellow believers as brothers and sisters.
We know loving people can be hard work. And we may have come from families where it wasn’t modelled that well or at all. Thankfully, we have a God who is ready to help us, is patient, and ready to forgive when we make mistakes (Read The Four Words Spoken By Jesus You Need To Hear)
This idea of family may have been something you’ve heard before, or it may be a new idea for you. But in a world that tells us to look after number one, and to only help people who act and think like we do, Jesus asks for us to see our fellow Christians as family, and to act like they are in very practical ways.
So what’s the one thing you could go out of your way to do this week, to help someone who needs help from the family?
What do you make of this idea? Comments welcomed below.