Jesus is causing a some problems in his home town, he is causing quite a stir. Crowds are all around him, some claim he has evil spirits within him and his family comes to "restrain him". Jesus is healing and preaching and teaching today and his home town and his family are in an uproar.
Surrounded by a crowd, Jesus is told that his mother and his brothers and sisters are outside and want to see him, and he seemingly insults his blood relatives by asking who is his mother and brothers. And then Jesus points at all of those sitting around him and identifies them as his his mother and brothers, as well as anyone who does the will of God.
Imagine his mother and brothers' reactions: they probably ran the gamut of possibilities, anger, sadness, amusement, insult. But we know that they did not spurn him, for we know at the end of Jesus' journey to Jerusalem, while he is dying on a cross, his mother is still there with him. I don't think Jesus spurns his family today, I think he widens the definition of family, widens and defines the understanding of what "community" is, and does, and what it should be like.
Families can be trying. Living in an intentional community of believers can be trying too. Those interpersonal dynamics need to be understood in the larger context of the kingdom Jesus proclaims with his life and ministry. Not an easy concept to remember when we are embroiled in the heat of the moment, but a necessary one.
Copyright 2010, The Rev. John F. Dwyer. All Rights Reserved.