INTRODUCTION Jesus had family problems. They did not always approve of the way He conducted His affairs. In order to do the will of His Father He had to face their opposition. This must have hurt Him just as it would hurt you.
This attitude on the part of His family is in the background of this incident. Mark let us know that His kinsman did not understand and approve. Indeed, they said that he was out of His mind. (Mark 3:21). His critics attributed His strange behavior to demonic control in His life. Jesus used the coming of His family as an opportunity to make a strong statement about those who do the Word of God. Evidently Luke includes this incident at this point in his gospel because of this. He is including this as another statement about hearing and doing the Word of God. Jesus never missed an opportunity to insist on the importance of being a doer of the Word.
When rightly understood this is a most encouraging passage to those who would do the Word. There are two impressive things here about being a doer of the Word.
I. THE DOER FOLLOWS THE EXAMPLE OF JESUS. Jesus was a "doer" of the Word. He declared this in the encounter with the enemy at the very outset of His ministry. When tempted to turn the stones into bread, He quoted from the Old Testament, "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God." This sets forth the first principle of His life. The Word of His Father will be the bread of His life. His life will be spent doing the will of His Father. This will guide Him in all that He does. We must ever be mindful that He makes this statement as the Son of Man. This is the way that God intended for man to live ... by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God. Jesus demonstrates that it can be done.
This incident in the life of Jesus gives an opportunity to see what this meant in His life.
A. Jesus gave priority to obedience over personal interest. This is the reason that his kinsmen thought that He was out of His mind. From an earthly perspective it just did not make sense. He seemed to be ignoring His physical needs by the pace that He kept. The crowds were coming day and night. He seemed to always be putting their need to hear the Word of God above His need for physical rest. We may need to remember this! Physical well being has almost become an obsession in our day. Jesus never discounted it, but it was not the first priority in His life. Doing the will of His Father was always first.
Jesus was ignoring, or so it seemed, the need to protect His reputation. He was not being careful about who He was seen with or about what He said. He had been seen with people that would hurt His reputation, and had said things that were known to offend people in high places, important people. This just did not make sense to His family. Hs family was right, at least from the perspective of the world. What He was doing did cost Him His life at the early age of thirty three.
At this point He is our example. We are to live as He lived. Obedience to the Word is to have priority over self interest. The Word of God is to be the bread of our lives.
B. Jesus gave priority to obedience over the claims of His family. Jesus was a good son to Mary. He was the best of brothers to His brothers and sisters. We have evidence of the care He gave to Mary even in the hour of His death. Yet He would not allow the physical ties that He had with Mary and his brothers and sisters to turn Him from the path of obedience. When Mary and her other sons appears on the scene to take Him back to Nazareth, He ignored their claims and declared that there are spiritual ties that take precedence over the physical. Jesus determined His course of action by the Word of God, not the counsel of His mother
We can learn from this. A family unit can be a major source of support in doing the will of God, but it can also be a source of opposition. While we must always give proper honor to our parents, the Word of God must be given priority over parents if the two are in conflict. This was the example that Jesus put before us. You are not fool when you give yourself to a life of obedience to the Word of God. It will put you out of step with the world about you, as it did our Lord, but it will put you in step with Him. The one perfect Man demonstrated that this is the way for man to live life and know life in it fullest. The way of obedience is the way Jesus lived it. Those who do the Word follow His example.
II. THE DOER ENTERS THE FAMILY OF JESUS. It is one of the most startling things Jesus ever said! When we compare the parallel accounts we learn that in response to the message from His family, He asked, "Who is my brother, my mother, and my sister?" Then He answered His own question as He gestured toward the humble group of disciples that were seated around Him listening to His message. "My mother and by brothers are these who hear the Word of God and do it.''
Mark indicates that He included "sisters." What did Jesus mean by this statement? I believe that it was spoken to be an encouragement to His disciples. It must have done just that! It sure does encourage me to be more diligent in my attempts at obedience.
A. The doer's enjoy the intimacy of His presence. The family came as though they had a claim on His time and attention. They were His family after the flesh so He should listen to them. Jesus declares that His intimates are not enjoyed on a physical basis, but rather on a spiritual basis. They are His intimates because they hear and do the Word of God.
A close look at the life of our Lord will demonstrate that this is true. He did not share His heart with His earthly family. The physical ties they had with Him were a barrier to faith. They could not forget that they shared the same mother and the same home. It was not until after His resurrection that James and Jude could become doers with Him. Consequently they did not receive insight into His heart. This was reserved for Peter, James, and John who were committed to be doers of the Word. Jesus took them aside to learn His secrets. He took them to the Mountain with Him to view His transfiguration.
It is still that way. It is to the obedient that the Lord reveals Himself. It is to them that He opens up the blessed communion. The obedient came to know Him in such a personal way. They are truly His family.
B. They meet the needs of Jesus. Every human being has some family needs. This is the reason that God designed the family. Dr. G. Campbell Morgan makes the interesting suggestion that each member of the family meets a particular need in our lives. A mother meets one need and a brother another. He also suggests that Jesus is declaring that these needs are met for Him by those who do the Word of the Lord.
A mother fills the need for comfort. She is the first to know of your hurts. You soon learn in life that she is full of comfort. Jesus is indicating that it is the doers who will meet His need for comfort.
Brothers are born for adversity. You gain strength and encouragement in a time of adversity by having a brother to stand by you. While the physical brothers of Jesus turned their back upon Him in His time of difficulty, the little group of doers stood by Him. But even they almost failed in the real dark hour.
But what about sisters? Dr. Morgan indicates that sisters are for the sharing of confidences. Brothers bare their hearts and uncover their souls to their sisters. Since I never had a sister as I grew up, I do not know about this. I was nineteen when my sister was born!
Jesus makes an inner circle out of the doers. They are there to be His strength and help in every time of need. As He ministers to them, they minister to Him. To be sure Jesus is no longer walking the highways of Galilee. He is now the RISEN AND ASCENDED LORD OF LORDS! But I believe that our Lord still has His inner circle, His special family. The mark of this inner group is the manner in which they hear and do the Word of God. As they obey His word, He includes them in the inner circle.
Is this not a most encouraging thought? What could be greater than to be a brother or sister or mother to the ASCENDED, REIGNING LORD! Such a privilege would make the burdens of the day seem as nothing.
CONCLUSION Are you a doer of the Word, or do you just hear it? There is only a curse for those who hear, but do not do the Word. The blessing comes only to those who hear and do the Word. They are privileged to live life on the highest plane where Jesus lived it. They are also privileged to enter into this special family, the family of the King. Let's go and do the Word of the Lord!