For several years I had the privilege of serving in a faith-based addiction recovery program. We helped people not by getting them to exchange their addiction for our program, but by introducing them to Christ and helping them to build a relationship with Him. For many, having any kind of meaningful relationship was a new concept. Many came from badly shattered families and love always came with a price tag: “I’ll love you if…” “I’m going to stop loving you if…” “I will never love you again because…”
When they came to us, they met people who loved them because God loved them. No other reason. No other motive. For some, it took a while to accept that kind of love because what had been called “love” wasn’t love at all. It was just a word people used to take advantage of them. When they finally saw that our people just plain loved them, they ate it up and it made it much easier for them to accept the Lord we were telling them about Who loved them even more than we could. We became like family to them.
“And he stretched forth his hand toward his disciples, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren!”(Matthew 12:49)
To hear Jesus say of His disciples:“Behold My mother and My brethren” would not be a foreign concept to them. Many of our clientele had people in our program who were more like family to them than their own flesh and blood and it was because of a shared faith in Christ. Did they stop loving their own families? Of course not! If anything, they became more burdened for them. I never saw anyone more concerned for the spiritual welfare of their lost loved ones than some of the folks who came to us for help.
When Jesus said “behold My mother and My brethren” he had been publicly teaching His disciples about the Kingdom of Heaven. Crowds had gathered to hear Him. Concerned for His well-being and hoping that their status as family would grant them special access, Jesus’ mother and brothers came out to see Him desiring a private meeting. He refused. Was He being cruel or disrespectful of His own family? No. When He was dying on the cross, He made special arrangements for the care of His mother. (See John 19:26) As the eldest son, that was his familial responsibility to her. He did love her. But blood relationships in the family of Christ are founded on blood of a different sort. Being biologically related to Jesus did not grant His earthly family any more access into Heaven than being able to claim oneself a descendant of Abraham. To that argument Jesus said: “God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham” (Matthew 3:9). Was He referring to biological children? No, He was speaking of children of faith. As a believer, I am a blood relative of Jesus Christ because of my faith in His shed blood on the cross. Anyone who places their faith in the finished work of Christ can also become a child of God because of the blood of Christ.
There is no VIP access to God except by faith in His Son.
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Photo by Alice Donovan Rouse on Unsplash