Thursday, July 17, 2014

Distraction at the door (Luke 8:20-21)

And His mother and brothers came to Him, and they were unable to get to Him because of the crowd. And it was reported to Him, "Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside, wishing to see You." But He answered and said to them, "My mother and My brothers are these who hear the word of God and do it." (Luke 8:20-21 NASB) 

Jesus said to them, "A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown and among his own relatives and in his own household." (Mark 6:4 NASB)

In this passage, we see an interesting vignette concerning the family dynamic between Jesus and his mother and brothers. We will remember, of course, the miraculous events surrounding Jesus's birth. According to Scripture, Mary "treasured all these things and pondered them in her heart." Mary must have been overwhelmed by the inexplicable changes that began with the appearance of an angel foretelling her pregnancy, through her engagement, marriage, the birth of her son in Bethlehem, the flight to Egypt, and finally the move to Nazareth. 

Mary had a bewildering series of events coupled with a steady supply of difficulty and loss. After a while, the exciting times around the birth of her son likely faded in the harsh reality of surviving in Roman-occupied Israel. Added to the stress of everyday life, Mary had more children. With no clear idea of how future events would unfold, what was she to tell her other children about Jesus? 

It must have seemed as if things were finally settling down when Jesus became a man and followed in his father Joseph's footsteps as a carpenter. With a steady income, he could provide for his mother as a firstborn son would be expected to provide. 

After a lifetime of difficulty and challenge, things would have just begun to ease up a bit  Imagine, then, how Mary must have felt when Jesus began to teach and preach. Traveling around preaching was no way to keep a growing business growing.  It was no way to provide for his aging mother, but Mary had already demonstrated the ability to be still and wait on God. 

From the words in this passage, it appears that His family had not embraced the idea of Jesus as Messiah. At least not yet. We know for certain that they were not in the crowd of followers with Jesus. What we don't know is why not. We don't know why they wanted Jesus to leave the crowd. Commentators think they were again calling Him to slow down and rest, but Scripture doesn't say for sure. 

It's easy to be critical about Mary and her sons, (and this is in no way intended to be critical of the mother of our Lord), but they had an unprecedented situation, and discerning the appropriate response could not have been easy. The point is that it was completely understandable if Jesus's family was uncertain about how to respond to His ministry.  We, however, do know how those first century events unfolded and discerning the appropriate response to Jesus is not so difficult.   

How do we respond to Jesus? Are we part of the closely-following disciples or outside the crowd, but not really a disciple?  Are we most interested in our own agenda and needs, or the work of Christ? 

Today, pray that we would be a part of the disciples around Jesus rather than the distraction outside the door. 
Link to last night 's post:
Our terrorist prayer focus this week is Ibrahim al Asiri, one of the most creative and dangerous bomb makers in the world. He is sworn to destruction of believers in general and the US specifically. Pray that his terrorist efforts would be thwarted, that a miraculous conversion would occur, and that his fervor for the cause of Christ would exceed his fervor for destruction.