LEARNING TO BE A FAMILYPointing 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.’(vss 49-50)
As we follow Jesus this week, we have to remember that his teaching comes often with a certain twist. We listen to him supposing that we are able to follow his line of teaching – and suddenly, there is a totally unexpected turn, a whole new perspective before our eyes, a surprisingly fresh insight into some well-known issue, or a turnabout to another topic. But isn’t it the real essence of learning – getting to unknown places, discovering perspectives new and fresh! Learning from Jesus is never boring. It is also never too easy because Jesus expects his students to be active learners willing to put the teaching into practice.
The teaching–learning relationship in Jesus’ time was somewhat similar to the family situation – the teacher walks and talks, eats and sleeps together with his disciples, and thus the learning occurs both during and outside the ‘lecture hours’. This kind of learning experience can bind people together in a special way.
So when Jesus is approached with a family relations issue, he extends the topic into the question about belonging to the family of God. And here his teaching is simple to understand: everyone who is willing to accept God’s authority is welcome to belong. No limits here – and also no exceptions.
Prayer † Loving God, let nothing come between us and your coming rule – and let the children of the world lead us there. Amen.
The World Alliance of Reformed Churches (WARC) is a fellowship of 75 million Reformed Christians in 214 churches in 107 countries. Its member churches are Congregational, Presbyterian, Reformed and United churches with roots in the 16th-century Reformation led by John Calvin, John Knox and others. WARC has a small secretariat in Geneva, Switzerland.