I love seeing all of the pictures on social media on Sibling Day. Since 1997 this national observance has spread throughout much of the globe.
We’re told that Jesus had at least four biological brothers and several sisters who were left unnamed [Matthew 13:55-56]. One day when Jesus’ brothers and his mother, Mary, were standing outside of the place where Jesus was, they asked someone to get Jesus’ attention.
Jesus responds with a rather peculiar line. He asks, “who is my mother and who are my brothers?”
[This would’ve seemed as strange then as it does now. Then Jesus pushes the envelope a little further.]
Pointing to his disciples, [Jesus] said, “Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.” - [Matthew 12:48-50]
Jesus’ question “who are my brothers and mother,” and his answer to that question, “whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother,” expands who is considered to be a part of the family of God. He is radically reshaping what we think of when we think of family. Throughout Jesus’ life and ministry, two things are clear: 1. There is room for more people in the family and, 2. The family business is to live, forgive, love and serve like Christ.
The family of God is not an “insiders only” club.
Which reminds me... Before baptizing my oldest son, Isaiah, I told him that he was now going to be a part of a really big family. I told him that he now had brothers and sisters all over the world. And in childlike fashion, his mouth dropped open because he was blown away by the mere thought of being a small part of a global family.
Mike Breen puts it this way in his book Family on Mission, “[Jesus’] disciples weren’t just his roadies or work associates — they are his family. For Jesus, making disciples is about building a family. In one sentence, he completely redefines what family is, how it works, and what it’s for.”
There’s no doubt that the concept of family is messy in practice. But this is the vehicle God has chosen to give us identity, belonging, purpose and life that is truly life. So to all my brothers and sisters in Christ, all over the world, Happy Sibling Day!