Matthew 12:46-50 Friday 7 October 2016

Psalm: Psalm 22:22-31


In this short but very significant passage Jesus goes about thework to which he is called.

If the timeline is correct he has just gone through a verystressful encounter with the Pharisees and shared some very hardwords with them and then we read: "While he was still speaking tothe crowds, his mother and his brothers were standing outside,wanting to speak to him" (v. 46). We know very little of hisfamily, but it seems clear from these words that they had kept intouch and were concerned about him. They had, no doubt, heard aboutthe way he was turning the Scribes and Pharisees against him withhis teaching, as well as how crowds were flocking to hear what hehad to say.

Perhaps his mother and brothers were trying to suggest that hetake a break and go home with them, maybe they wanted to hear Jesusfor themselves, or even to tell him to tone it down a bit becausethey are afraid of what will happen to him. They send a message tohim to say that they are here. But rather than smile and makeexcuses to the crowd whilst he greets them his response is "Who ismy mother, and who are my brothers?" And pointing to his discipleshe said, "Here are my mother and my brothers,! For whoever does thewill of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother"(vv. 49-50).

We can probably imagine their response when they are given thismessage. How rejected and even angry they must have felt - Whatcould he mean? "What was it about this child I bore," Mary mighthave thought. "What is it about?" his young brother may havewondered. "That he has rejected them all for a bunch of fishermenand a crowd of seemingly hungry helpless souls." The Gospel doesnot spell out any such reaction just leaves the statement standing,and yet those words of Jesus have a profound message for those whosought to follow him then, and those who still seek to follow himtoday.

Where was their priority to lie? We know that Simon Peter atleast had been or was married as we hear about his mother-in-law(Luke 4:38-39). No doubt the others had familyresponsibilities, but Jesus expected them to leave everything tofollow the way he was leading them, just as he had been expected toleave his family and the responsibilities of being an eldest sonbehind to do the will of God. Here is a challenge to his familywaiting outside, a challenge to the disciples seeking to answer hiscall, and a challenge to us as we seek to be disciples today.

To Ponder

  • Who do you make the priority in your live when it comes to yourfaith in Jesus?
  • How do we balance the needs of the world in our day-to-dayliving, with our faith in a Saviour who calls us leave everythingbehind to follow him?
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