“and his mother and brothers came, and standing outside they sent to him and called him.” v. 31
Mary was devastated. She would rather have died a thousand deaths than watch what was happening to her oldest son. Standing hand in hand with her other sons, James, Joses, Judas and Simon, she couldn’t understand where she had gone wrong. “If Joseph were still alive, he’d put a stop to this madness!” she muttered, lips trembling, in disbelief. From outside the mob of frenzied followers, she felt her heart leap up into her throat, listening to bits and pieces of Jesus message. “If he doesn’t stop talking like that, he’s gonna get himself killed! James, go get your big brother and tell him his mother wants to see him now!” Mary’s head swam around in a sea of fear, anger and dread as she tried to go back in her mind to the promise. “Maybe I was crazy! I know the angel was real. I distinctly heard him say this child would be the savior. It had to be real. I know He was a miracle baby. Oh God! Where did I fail you!” Tears streamed down her face. “My son has lost his mind. This can’t be what God wanted. I must have been too easy on him growing up. Maybe that time I told him he was special he couldn’t handle it. The other boys have turned out so much better. Why couldn’t I have made him more like them?” Grief and regret pounded with every heartbeat as she replayed Bethlehem, Egypt, the move to Nazareth. “Maybe that time we lost him at the temple it really affected him emotionally. I should have watched him more closely…” Back in the early days her son was such a joy. The promise given by the angel made her heart soar, but now the sight of her son made her heart sore. He was meant to be a light to the nations, a savior for Israel, but he had become something entirely different than what she had expected. She imagined him one day leading Israel to freedom, but instead he was leading a mob of fools into some kind of invisible “kingdom”. She had always thought maybe he would become a priest, or a ruler of the Jews, but he was an outsider mobbed by outsiders. People were starting to talk about killing him. After a few minutes, James returned with a sickly expression on his face. “Well, is he coming?” “Uh, m-mom n-not exactly.” “What do you mean! Did you tell him his mother is here?” “Yes, I did. I told him you wanted to see him now.” Then Mary asked, “Well, what did he say? or was he too busy defiling himself with lepers to talk to his mother!” James hesitated, then said, “Uh, well, Mom he said , Um,…” “Oh son speak up! What did he say?” “Okay, here goes. Mom he said something about, ‘whoever does the will of God is my mother, and sister and brother.’ Then he kind of went back to talking to all those losers.” Mary just stood there letting the words of her lost son swirl around her in the desert wind. What do you think it was like for Jesus mother to hear those words? Why would he say such a thing? Is it possible that he had to distance himself from his family in order to save them? Could it be that Jesus had to break the hearts of his loved ones in order to ultimately heal them? Later, we see from the cross that Jesus loved his mother deeply. As he hung there dying for her, he said to her, “Mother behold your son.”, reaffirming his relationship with her, and told john, “Behold your mother”. In other words, “John you take care of my mother.” So these words spoken in our story today are not meant to indicate a lack of love. But he made this statement, “Whoever does the will of God…”, in part, to show his earthly family that even they must come by the cross to be saved. Imagine Mary and the brothers of Jesus going through life thinking they had some kind of free pass into eternal life because of their family ties to Jesus. Imagine Mary thinking that because she was the “Blessed Virgin” that she was somehow not in need of salvation. Imagine her thinking she had some special elevated status. But even Mary, for all of her virtues, was a lost sinner in need of a savior. She is not a goddess, or a recipient of worship. She was a servant of God, a disciple of Jesus. She and her other children, which she had with Joseph, after Jesus was born, were in the same need of salvation as the rest of us. Why is this important today? It reminds us that the only way into the family of God is by repentance of sin and faith in Jesus Christ. Just as Mary and her family could not enter in because they grew up with Jesus, so you and I cannot go to heaven because we grew up in church, or had preachers for parents, or got baptized as babies. Jesus said to his family what he says to all of us, “Who is my family? Whoever does the will of God.” And what is the will of God? In Jesus words: “This is the will of my father, that whoever looks at the son and believes in him will have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.” (John 6:40) You have to look to him for yourself, and put your faith in him for yourself. You cannot ride in on anyone’s coattails. No one can wish you into heaven, or pray you there after you die. You cannot come in through your denomination, or your relatives. It’s you and Jesus, face to face, heart to heart. This is why John say, “But to as many as received him, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.” (John 1:12-13)
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