Welcome to a Different Kind of Family
In Jesus’ day, the religious leaders convinced most people that God was a jealous warrior, an angry disciplinarian, or a distant presence inside a temple. This message created a community of zealot-like warriors, pious Pharisees, duty-bound Sadducees, or guilt-ridden every day people. Community was a tight-knit group of people limited to those who ate the same foods, hung out with the same friends, and were related by bloodlines. They measured success by attendance at the temple during the festivals. No one wanted to risk reaching out for fear of offending the community.
When Jesus calls disciples, he immediately broke through these barriers. He showed them a different picture of God’s relationship with the world. It took the disciples a lifetime of ministry with him to experience it. Just notice the example in Matthew. Jesus shows them what it’s like to be a part of God’s family. He is the loving Son (17:5), faithful bridegroom (9:15; 12:49; 22:1-14), and brother (12:49). He tells the disciples to put away their swords, to love their enemies, and find rest in the presence of Christ (11:28-30). He shows them a Father who wants to be in relationship with his children, a groom who desires to sacrifice for his bride, a brother who will be willing to walk hand in hand with his friends.
That’s a different kind of community. God’s family is not built on biology or a building. It’s based on the power of the resurrected Christ to knit us together as people. Through trust in Christ, we are the faithful children of God who relate to a loving parent, a bride that is fallen in love with her husband, a band of brothers standing side by side with friends. This community was naturally outward-focused. They were eager to share this message and include as many people as possible.
I’m curious, how do you relate to God now that you trust in Jesus? When we are willing to trust in Jesus as a loving parent, spouse, brother, or friend, we typically want others to be a part of that kind of family. When we are worried, anxious, and afraid of God, we rarely want to share Him with others.
I can tell you how Jesus wants to relate to you. He tells the women at the empty tomb: “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers.” That’s his kind of family. Wouldn’t you want to relate to our God this Way?