Family – We all come from a family of some kind. It’s part of what has made us what we are. As kids we grow up thinking that our family is normal but the normal of families can range from brilliant to horrifying.
Churches often want to talk about families like hallmark cards; Lots of lovely sentiments and cutesy slogans but the bible is nothing like as sen
timental about families.
In Matthew 2:19 Jesus’ family flees death squads for Egypt.
Read Luke 2:41-50. Imagine your
either Joseph or Mary. Would you be upset with Jesus ? Why didn’t 12 year old Jesus let
them know what he was doing ? How come it took so long. Look at the painting – Can you see the tension ?
To be a Jew was to be part of a family. to have a whakapapa that went back to Abraham. Family was defined by bloodlines.
In an even more unlikely twist in Mark 3 We see a series of people in opposition to Jesus. Demons, Pharisees and now his own family !
Read Mark 3:20-21
Why do you think his family thought he was out of his mind ? Has your family ever thought that about you ? Notices that they sought to take charge of him. This is about power to overrule another .
Now read Mark 3:31-35.
Why didn’t Jesus’ family come in the house ?
Jesus is sitting in a circle, and speaks to men and women.
How has Jesus redefined family ?
The early church started using the phrase “the family of believers”
Read Gal 6:9-10, 1 Peter 2:16-17
“Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.”
(Mark 3:33-35) NIV
Based on this statement, what kinds of behaviour might mark us as part of Jesus’ family ?
What kinds of behaviour might suggest we are not ?
One aspect to consider is how Jesus’ biological family is seeking to use their power to control Jesus. Compare that to the way that Jesus uses power as written in Phil 2:5-8. One writer notes that jesus moves towards the mess.
Perhaps a key phrase to compare is “God’s will”, or “My will”.
If you read the passage before Phil 2:1-4 You get a sense of people being encouraged to look for God’s will, and ebbing encouraged to get past selfish ambition (my will).
I’ve been reflecting on the rise of people who are ‘done’ with church.
I wonder how much they are products of us trying to be hallmark church where we’re all nice. Inevitably the niceness wears off and hurts people. I wonder how often as church we’ve tried to control people (like Jesus’ family).
I’ve been reflecting on the difference between being nice and being kind.
(Hint 1 cor 13 suggests that love is ….)
So I’ve found myself wondering about church as the family of believers.
Where we are always open at the edges and seeking to love each other.
Where our actions are marked by humbleness and a desire of God’s will
not trying to control others.
What might this look like ? How are we getting on in this ?