Part two of discovering how Jesus redefines our view of family.
In the first part of our series, we started breaking down the term “family” as defined in Mark 3. Then, we discussed how Jesus conducted His ministry without the support of His siblings. But as we continue to study this Scripture, you’ll see how Jesus found the support He needed in another way.
He chose them. Mark 3:13-15 says,
“And he went up on the mountain and called to him those whom he desired, and they came to him. And he appointed twelve (whom he also named apostles) so that they might be with him and he might send them out to preach and have authority to cast out demons.”
You’ve probably heard the phrase, “Friends are the family we choose ourselves.” Jesus prayed, went up on a mountain, and selected twelve men. Their names were Bartholemew, Andrew, Matthew, Simon, Peter, Philip, Thomas, Thaddeus, John, James, James the Lesser, and Judas.
Learn these names. Research their stories. These men were Jesus’ method of winning the world to God. These individuals are literally the foundation of the early church. Jesus did not choose them because of their impressive faith or talents and abilities. The Twelve were extraordinarily ordinary men.
The one characteristic they shared was their willingness to follow Jesus.
They spent every moment together. Eating, sleeping, praying, and ministering. Managing, counseling, and preparing the way. Laughing, sharing, and weeping.
Jesus did life with these men. They were His people. He said, “Come follow Me,” and they did. Dropping everything.
Often Jesus was frustrated with the Twelve, which is what I love about this group of men. None of us are perfect! But it didn’t matter to Jesus. He trusted the Twelve. He respected the Twelve. And He loved the Twelve.
And while on the cross, before He breathed His last breath, Jesus asked His disciple John to care for His mother. Jesus didn’t ask His brothers or sisters. Instead, He turned to His chosen brother.
When my father had to be moved to a memory care facility, my family was not interested in helping me with logistics. At a time when I should have been leaning on my mother and sister, I found two friends standing in the gap with me. These women handled every detail, purchased every item, and held my hand as we dropped Daddy off at the front door.
Do you have people who you choose to do life with?
These are the ones who see you without makeup. They snag that straggly hair from your chin with a pair of tweezers they keep in their purse. They help you build a resume when you’ve lost your job. They cry with you when you’re hurting and rejoice with you in your triumphs.
And if you haven’t yet found your chosen ones, check a few pews in the sanctuary of your local church because that’s where the third layer of family lives. Mark 3:32-35 says,
“And a crowd was sitting around him, and they said to him, “Your mother and your brothers are outside, seeking you.” And he answered them, “Who are my mother and my brothers?” And looking out at those who sat around him, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! For whoever does the will of God, he is my brother and sister and mother.’”
YIKES! Does this mean that Jesus is disowning His family? No. Jesus is pointing to a new type of family. You’re either in God’s Kingdom, or you remain loyal to the dominion of evil.
That may sound harsh, but you must understand there’s no middle ground. To follow Christ requires a willingness to leave everything if necessary. The people who surrounded Him at this moment, He regarded them as family. They shared the same new birth, born into the family of God through faith in Jesus.
Make sure to note the qualification. Whoever DOES the will of God. That’s code for the act of obedience.
It is visible.
It is active.
It is deliberate.
It is distinctive.
We are a community of believers. We are the body of Christ. And when we can’t get our basic need of belonging from our nuclear family group, we get it from our community!
That’s why joining a community group, Bible study, or small group is vital to the Christian faith.
It’s a place for discipleship. It’s where we are held accountable. It’s how you mature in your faith. It’s where your eyes are open to meet the needs of others. It’s where you confess and ask for forgiveness.
Not to mention that we are commanded to do it.
Hebrews 10:24-25 says, “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”
Listen, I understand if you’re reading this, feeling you need to work on your family dynamics, no matter the category. I encourage you to lean into that conviction! But the good news is that you have immediate access to a family member Who is steadfast and true.
It’s God the Father.
Lincee Ray is an accidental blogging superstar, thanks to a little show called The Bachelor. Yes, the reality phenomenon is the opposite of quality television, but it did lead her to sweet writing gigs with Entertainment Weekly online and the Associated Press. Lincee is an active speaker, the author of two books (Why I Hate Green Beans and It’s a Love Story), the host of the pop culture podcast I Hate Green Beans, and can be found rambling on her website where she reminds women that it’s important to tell your story—even if it makes you seem a little crazy.