He is Looking For Obedience, Part 3of3, Pastor Phil Sessa

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Now Jesus’ mother and brothers came to see him, but they were not able to get near him because of the crowd. Luke 8:20 Someone told him, “Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to see you.” Luke 8:21 He replied, “My mother and brothers are those who hear God’s word and put it into practice.” (Luke 8:19-21

Isn’t it interesting that you can grow up with your family members, but in the long run some of our friends are closer to us in relationship than our own family? In the church world this would be labeled as a having a kindred spirit. This is where you and your friend (perhaps your best friend) seem to be so closely connected, you trust one another deeply there for one another faithfully and sacrificially, that it supersedes your relationship to your family. It’s been said that blood is thicker than water. This is to say that family relationship is to be a stronger than a friendship one because of the family bloodline. Perhaps this saying was made up by someone that saw the closeness of two friends as being greater than the closeness of one of their family members and them, this statement was born out of jealousy. Even though the saying blood is thicker than water is believed by many, perhaps spirit is thicker than blood, or better yet the blood and spirit of Jesus is thicker than anything.

Jesus’ mother Mary came to see Him along with His brothers. Jesus was inside ministering or at least being with people. There was enough of a crowd gathered there to keep His family from getting near to Him. Upon hearing that His own mother that gave birth to Him, and nurtured Him growing up, and His own brothers that He had grown up with desired to see Him, He answers to the surprise of many with unexpected words. Knowing His family came to see Him, Jesus says “My mother and brothers are those who hear God’s word and put it into practice.” Now talk about throwing someone off. Jesus seems to make no exception to have His family members outside come to see Him, and He rolls no red carpet out to them. On the contrary if there had been a “red carpet” it appears that He would pull it away. By the very statement given to Jesus, one would expect a much different response, especially in a society where honoring your father and mother was highly esteemed. Yet Jesus gave no more honor to His mom and brothers than the rest of humanity. As blessed as Mary was for being chosen by God to be the mother of Christ, she and His brothers were to submit to the family as Jesus defined it, as He said “My mother and brothers are those who hear God’s word and put it into practice.” “Jesus says that the way to be close to him-even as close as His own family-is through being receptive to (“hearing”) God’s word and then doing it. Hours of praying and reading the Bible will not bring disobedient Christians as close to the Lord as doing His truth brings even the simplest believer (EBC).”

Later on in the book of Luke, a woman in the crowd called out, “Blessed is the mother who gave you birth and nursed you.” He replied, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it (Luke 11:27-28).” He is looking for obedience to define His family. This is really nothing new as Jesus is consistent even from His boyhood. Remember at the age twelve Mary and Joseph accidentally left Jesus in Jerusalem, and upon their return being very anxious, His mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you.” Why were you searching for me?” He asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house (NIV), [“…dealing with the things of my father” – the message Bible] (Luke 2:48-49)?” Later Luke shows the place family must take in the life of one who desires to be Jesus’ disciple (14:25-26). Jesus states, “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters-yes, even his own life-he cannot be my disciple.” He is to be at the top of your “love list” shown through obedience. Even Jesus’ half-brother James who did not believe until after Jesus’ death stated, “But be doers of the word and not hearers only deceiving your own selves.” James 1:22, He too recognized that those who call themselves followers of Christ must manifest the words through their obedience to His Words. Apart from obedience growing up in a Christian home, going to church, and practicing spiritual disciplines can never outweigh the simplicity of obedience, which is what He wants from His Church, His Body, and His bride.

Application: If you were placed on trial for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you? Blessings Pastor Phil


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