Peter Misselbrook's Blog
Jul 21 2020 - Mark 3:31-4:25 – Family

Jesus' family had come looking for him – some of his family seemed to have feared for Jesus’ sanity (Mark 3:21). When he was told of this, "he looked at those seated in a circle around him and said, 'Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.'" (3:34-35).

Who were those sitting in a circle around Jesus? They were his disciples; those who listened to him and learned from him. They were not perfect by any means, but they were seeking to follow Jesus and to serve him in the work of the kingdom. They were eager to respond to and have a part in all that God was doing in Jesus Christ. These, says Jesus, are my family; they belong to me and I belong to them.

Saul the Pharisee discovered the power of family while on his way to Damascus to seek out followers of Jesus and drag them in chains to Jerusalem. The risen Christ confronted him with the question, "Why are you persecuting me?" Jesus and his followers are one family; to persecute his followers is to persecute him. Later, when blind and helpless in Damascus, he was to discover that this family could be his family also when he was wonderfully addressed by Ananias; “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus who appeared to you on the road by which you came has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit” (Acts 9:17). Saul must have treasured those costly words, “Brother Saul.”

Later, Paul the apostle speaks of the amazing privileges of belonging to the Christian family. He affirms that we are children of God – those who cry out to him “Abba, Father.” And if we are children, then we are also heirs – heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ (Romans 8:17). We are family. Through Jesus, the one who created and who sustains the whole universe has embraced us in his love and claimed us to be his own.

Father God, I wonder how I managed to exist
Without the knowledge of your parenthood and your loving care
But now I am your son, I am adopted in your family
And I can never be alone
'Cause Father God, you're there beside me

I will sing your praises
I will sing your praises
I will sing your praises
For evermore

Being part of a family brings with it family traits and family likeness. My wife keeps pointing out ways in which I am increasingly becoming like my dad – I’m not sure she means it as a compliment! Our greatest longing should be to become more like Jesus; to bear the marks of family likeness with him. The light of God’s presence within us is not to be hidden under a basket or treasured within the privacy of moments of meditation; it is to shine from our lives so that others may recognise something of the beauty and character of the living God through us. They should be able to recognise that we have been with Jesus.

Father God, I recognise with wonder that I am not my own, I have been bought with a price. Lord Jesus, thank you that you were not ashamed to call us your brothers and sisters. Thank you for the immense privilege of having made me part of your family. Help me always to value my brothers and sisters as you value them. And help me by your Spirit to reflect your likeness in the way I act and react to those around me. May I be used of you to draw others into the embrace of your love and the fellowship of your family.

Peter Misselbrook