MATTHEW 12:46-50 OUR KING AND HIS EARTHLY RELATIVES
46. While he yet talked to the people, behold, his mother and brethren stood without, desiring to speak with him.
The members of his family had come to take him, because they thought him beside himself. No doubt the Pharisees had so represented his ministry to his relatives that they thought they had better restrain him, lest he should procure his own destruction by his zealous preaching. Friends may be a good man’s greatest hindrance. They intruded upon his holy service “while he yet talked to the people. ” A mark of wonder is put before this record: “Behold. ” How dare they act in this manner? By the request of his mother and his brethren he is called away from the pressing engagement of teaching the people, which was his urgent lifework; but the call had no power over him. What ailed Mary that she joined in this transaction? Many a nervous mother has been ready to hold back her consecrated son when his courage has defied danger. Our Lord did not allow his love to his mother to turn him aside.
47. Then one said unto him, Behold thy mother and thy brethren stand without desiring to speak with thee.
An officious person reported the errand of the family: one said unto him, Behold, thy mother and thy brethren stand without. It is hard when interruptions come from our own flesh and blood; for strangers are sure to back them up. Ignorantly or willfully, the reporting person lent himself to the design of the relatives by representing that they were desiring to speak with him ; though, indeed, they desired to take him. He who would not permit a disciple to neglect his duty on the plea of burying his father, how will he act now that his mother comes to hinder him? He will do the right thing. We may always find the rule of our conduct by asking the question, “What would Jesus do?”
48, 49. But he answered and said unto him that told him, Who is my mother? and who are my brethren? And he stretched forth his hand toward his disciples, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren!
He does not reject the tender ties of his human nature, but he exhibits their true position as secondary to the spiritual bonds which united him to the spiritual family. Those who were related to him by the bonds of discipleship had in this the truest union with him. He pointed to “his disciples, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren! ” All believers in Jesus are of the royal family, princes of the blood, brothers of the Christ.
See how he owns the affinity, and bids all know it. “He is not ashamed to call them brethren.” In this instance his method of acknowledging them was singularly striking; he even set them before his earthly mother and brethren.
Lord, let us know and enjoy our nearness to thyself. Help us also to care for thee as a mother for her son, and to love thee as a man should love his own brother.
50. For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.
He enlarges upon the truth. Every doer of the Father’s will is thereby proved to be a true disciple, and he is to Jesus as near as a brother, as dear as a sister, as much cared for as mother. According to our condition and capacity, let us act towards our Lord the part of brother in help, of sister in sympathy, of mother in tender love; for all these relationships act in both ways, and involve giving as well as receiving. What a blessed “whosoever ” is this! It is not for ministers only, or for persons set apart to special service; but all who do the Father’s will in any position of life are encompassed in the family circle of the Lord Christ.
Our Lord Jesus had a little while before cut himself adrift from the bands of formality by routing the scribes and Pharisees, and now the knife goes deeper, and all that is of the flesh at its very best is divided from that which is of the spirit. Henceforth it is clear that after the flesh he knows no man any more; neither can we hope to know him by birth-right membership, or anything else that is of blood, or birth, or of the will of the flesh. The inner life which is akin to God, and shows itself in holiness, is that which gives us union with our Lord. Oh, to feel its influence more and more!