News of Jesus’ teaching in Capernaum and the surrounding villages had spread. Large crowds were gathering to hear his words and to see his miracles, many coming hoping to be healed. On more than one occasion the crowds would fill a home to the point that there wasn’t even enough room to eat.
Back in Nazareth, Jesus family had begun to hear the stories about him. And even though Mary knew the stories were true, his brothers thought Jesus was out of his mind. They wondered if he was trying to start an uprising against the Romans, and they knew those never ended well. So they set off for Capernaum, a two day journey.
By this point, the leaders in Jerusalem had also heard about the Jesus and his teaching. They had come from Jerusalem and we’re accusing him of casting out demons by the power of the devil himself.
It is in the middle of this debate that we find his mother and brothers arriving, finding what they feared. They sent a message in to Jesus, letting him know they were outside and would like to speak with him. Jesus refuses, which shocks his audience. They say, “Your mother and brothers are outside asking for you.”
Jesus replies, “Who are my mother and my brothers? See! Here are my mother and brothers” looking at those seated around him in the home. “Whoever does what God wants is my brother, sister and mother.”
In other places Jesus talks about leaving your family, or hating your parents (hating them in comparison to the love we have for Christ) if we want to follow him. It seems in this new Kingdom that he talks so much about the family isn’t what we typically think of when we talk about family.
We’ve been adopted. We’ve become children of God. Our new family tree has more branches than we can count. This new family we won’t meet until we are invited to that ultimate family reunion, and I’m sure there will be plenty of crazy uncles to go around.
Often we get caught up in looking at our own branch of that family tree and forget that this family is made up of many other branches. Some are native branches, and others, like ours, have been grafted in and look very different. But no matter what type of leaf, we are all part of the same tree and rely on the same roots for nurture and growth.
Sure, there is a special place and role for our traditional family. But Jesus is asking us to take a look at the larger story, the story the Father is telling. And to see those we share the story with not as strangers, not even as distant cousins, but as brothers and sisters and mothers and fathers.