As a mother, I find this text difficult to swallow. If my son said something so offensive as to reject immediate family, I would have a hard time letting it go. But then, maybe I can read this another way. Maybe Jesus wasn’t rejecting his mother and brothers. Perhaps Jesus was elevating the rest of the crowd to the status held by his mother and brothers.
I have a very big family. Oh, not my immediate family – we are quite small. I grew up with my mom, dad, and sister. I now also have a spouse and three kids. I also have a niece and nephew, whom I adore!! So, yep, it’s just us 9. I have no relationship with any grandparents (all deceased), aunts, uncles, or cousins.
But I have a very big family, nonetheless. We have more than several (25-30) teens who hang out at my house. One, who was living in his car, has lived with us now for over 2 months, with no immediate plans to live elsewhere. We are a great, big muddle and puddle of messy, challenging, difficult, amazing, wonderful, imperfect, loving… family. The thing is, I would do anything for these kids. They are my family now. That is not to say that none of them have their own families, too. That is not to diminish the relationships I have with my own 9 people. Jesus knew that family is deeper than blood. As adopted by God and inheritors of God’s kingdom, we are family now – all of us who do what we can to make this planet as close to the kingdom God intended as we can.
Then his mother and his brothers came to him, but they could not reach him because of the crowd. And he was told, “Your mother and your brothers are standing outside, wanting to see you.” But he said to them, “My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and do it.”