“Whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.” — Matthew 12:50
I love the word community. Many of the student groups I have worked with over the years have gotten tired of hearing me talk about community. But I can’t help it. I love the concept of people gathering together for the purposes of accountability, learning, fellowship, and mission. Besides, it’s in the Bible, so it’s got to be good!
Jesus was teaching a group of people about faith and the kingdom and discipleship. And while he was talking to the crowd, his own family came to speak to him. But instead of dropping everything and talking to them, Jesus continued teaching, and he even used his family as an example. “Who is my family?” he asked, in effect. “Those who do the will of my Father in heaven—they are my family.”
Was Jesus denying his biological family here? No, but he was not going to put them ahead of doing the will of God.
Jesus redefined family and community here in a radical way. Instead of simply being a gathering of relatives or like-minded neighbors, the community became people we gather with for the purpose of faith, mission, and challenge in living for God.
Who is your family? Who holds you accountable to God’s purposes in life, and who walks alongside you in both good and bad times? With whom do you gather for the purposes of faith-building, mission, and challenge? Wherever you find those people, there is your family—the community of God.