“31 Then his mother and his brothers arrived. While they were standing outside, they sent word to Jesus, calling for him. 32 A crowd was sitting around him. They began to tell him, “Look, your mother and your brothers are outside looking for you.”
33 He replied, “Who are my mother and my brothers?” 34 He looked at those who sat around him in a circle and he said, “Look, my mother and my brothers! 35 For whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.” (Mark 3:31-35)
Everyone who does God’s will, that is, everyone who believes is Jesus’ brother/sister/mother. Here, Jesus says, is “real family,” the family of God.
We become part of God’s family through Baptism. In the Lord’s Supper, we join with God’s family – with Jesus/Savior/Brother and with fellow believers. And what a tremendous blessing when earthly family and family in Christ are one and the same.
How does this family stay connected? Since Father’s Day is coming up, a word to fathers and all men. How does family stay connected to Christ? Guys, don’t look around at others. Don’t dodge the question. Yes, each person is essentially responsible for being in the Word and partaking of the Sacrament and remaining connected to Jesus.
But who brings the children, who leads the family to God’s altar? If the answer is Mom or the kids – good for Mom and the kids. Well done. Keep connected. Remain faithful. The ideal answer involves fathers and husbands. Lead, love, nurture, model forgiveness – make clear that in Jesus all sin and wrongdoings are forgiven. Do this day by day, week by week, in private settings and in public worship.
As a father, nothing would bring me greater joy than to have my entire family with me in heaven. Sure, I want my children (and now, grandchildren) to succeed and do well in school, athletics, music, career, establishing families of their own one day – whatever they want to do. But it all means nothing if they are not part of the family of Christ. My fervent prayer at the beginning of each day, and at the end of each day, is that the Lord keep them in his care and bring them safely home.
As pastor, I feel the same about my church family. We’re talking real family here, brothers and sisters in Christ. This goal, this expectation that all of us will be together in heaven with Jesus makes the bad days worth it. Let the hits, hurts, and insults come from all sides. Family is worth it. Jesus is worth it. How blessed we are to be part of the family of God! By the grace of God we will remain real family.
In Christ our Savior,
Pastor Stephen Luchterhand