We have seen in a previous study that Jesus’ relatives misunderstood the nature of His ministry, “And when His friends heard of it, they went out to lay hold on Him: for they said, He is beside Himself” (Mark 3:21). We accept that they must have loved Him, but this did not stop them trying to persuade Him to give up His work. Even Mary failed to fully understand why Jesus was sent into the world. As a young boy of twelve Jesus had plainly told Mary and Joseph that “I must be about my Father’s business”, nevertheless “They understood not the saying which He spake unto them” (Luke 2:49-50).
Neither the slanderous accusations of His enemies nor the well-meant suggestions of His family were able to move Him away from the purpose of His coming. Despite what others thought, the Lord was determined to complete His task, “But I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how am I straitened till it be accomplished!” (Luke 12:50). Like Nehemiah He refused to listen to the remarks of those who sought to hinder His work, “I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down: why should the work cease, whilst I leave it, and come down to you?” (Nehemiah 6:3).
The earthly relatives
“There came then His brethren and His mother, and, standing without, sent unto Him, calling Him. And the multitude sat about Him, and they said unto Him, Behold, Thy mother and Thy brethren without seek for Thee” (Mark 3:31-32).
The Lord obviously had a deep love and respect for the one who bare and nursed Him. He had grown up with His earthly family, so His heart must have yearned after them and must have often prayed that they would come to repentance. While they were resisting Him they were making themselves His enemies, “A man’s foes shall be they of his own household” (Matthew 10:36). With a loud voice they called out Jesus’ name, not to be saved but to draw Him away from the multitude listening to Him. It is a sad fact that even the Lord’s own brothers and sisters did not believe on Him, “His brethren therefore said unto Him, Depart hence, and go into Judaea, that Thy disciples also may see the works that Thou doest. For there is no man that doeth any thing in secret, and he himself seeketh to be known openly. If Thou do these things, show Thyself to the world. For neither did His brethren believe in Him” (John 7:3-5).
The eternal relationship
“And He answered them, saying, Who is my mother, or my brethren? And He looked round about on them which sat about Him, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren! For whosoever shall do the will of God, the same is my brother, and my sister, and mother” (Mark 3:33-35).
The true brethren of Jesus Christ are those who obey God’s will. The relationship that we have with the Lord is closer than that of flesh and blood, this is why Jesus once said, “He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me” (Matthew 10:37). Jesus loves His church for each member is part of His eternal family. It does not matter what status we have in life, His loves is exactly the same for us all. Our family and friends might reject and avoid us, but the Lord never will, “When my father and my mother forsake me, then the LORD will take me up” (Psalm 27:10) … “There is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother” (Proverbs 18:24) … “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee” (Hebrews 13:5). These precious promises are for those who “Trust and obey”.
These verses teach us how important we are to the Lord. The true relations of the Lord Jesus Christ, the eternal family of the King of Heaven, are those who refuse to allow anything or anyone in this world to dissuade them from being faithful to God. He is with them each step of the way and will vindicate them in the presence of all their enemies, “For their Redeemer is mighty; He shall plead their cause …” (Proverbs 23:11).
What a Friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer!
O what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry everything to God in prayer.
Have we trials and temptations? Is there trouble anywhere?
We should never be discouraged; take it to the Lord in prayer.
Can we find a friend so faithful who will all our sorrows share?
Jesus knows our every weakness; take it to the Lord in prayer.
Are we weak and heavy laden, cumbered with a load of care?
Precious Saviour, still our refuge, take it to the Lord in prayer.
Do your friends despise, forsake you? Take it to the Lord in prayer!
In His arms He’ll take and shield you; you will find a solace there.