Christian Basic Training

It's All Relative

By Pastor Russ Pickett

Words of Jesus Christ are in "red"
Greek words are in "purple"
Text in "dark blue" are hightlighted points

Break Line

Matthew 12:46-50  [46] While he yet talked to the people, behold, his mother and his brethren stood without, desiring to speak with him.  [47] Then one said unto him, Behold, thy mother and thy brethren stand without, desiring to speak with thee.  [48] But he answered and said unto him that told him, Who is my mother?  and who are my brethren?  [49] And he stretched forth his hand toward his disciples, and said,  Behold my mother and my brethren!  [50] For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.

     So many times we have read the above verses but for some reason it just doesn't seem to sink in....   I pray that in this article we can explore it's full meaning and move forward toward loving our "family" that our Lord has given us in a way that is much more apparent to the outside world!

     There are only two special "holy relationships" that our Lord told us about when it comes to "family" and we are told to recognize them and act on them as He has instructed.   But for some reason ... we sometimes act as if He never gave us these instructions for our lives.   And when we don't act on or treat them as we should ... we are losing untold blessings.

I pray that you will recognize the first one:

Matthew 19:4-6  [4] And he answered and said unto them,   Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female,   [5] And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife:   and they twain shall be one flesh?   [6] Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh.   What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.

     Jesus here, noting "Have ye not read", was repeating the message that God the Father had given us in Genesis 2:24 concerning the relationship between husband and wife and how the two will become "one flesh".

     What a beautiful relationship he gave to us as christians to know that we, husbands and wives, become "one flesh" after our marriage!   If more of those that call themselves "christians" understood and treated this beautiful relationship the way that God intended ... so many more lives would be blessed as would the church as a whole.

     Many have heard this relationship, between husbands and wives, preached on "many" times from the pulpit of their local churches ... I hope to write another article on that relationship soon ...

     However, in this article we will discuss the "second holy relationship" that is referenced in Matthew 12:46-50 shown above.   This second relationship is "very rarely" preached and I feel that if it had been talked about more ... our churches would be a stronger influence in our society and many, many, more of the lost would have come to know Christ as their Lord and Savior!


A Family Comes To Visit


     Jesus had been preaching on the Sabbath when his family came to visit.   Because of the multitude of people surrounding Him they could not get close to enough to see Him.   He was told "Behold, thy mother and thy brethren stand without, desiring to speak with thee." Now Jesus knew that his "family" had come, evidently, because they had a motive... but that is for another later article as well.

     But it was our Lord's answer that just has to blow you away!   Today we would think that He was somehow almost ignoring His earthly family, and in a way He was.   He wanted to get out the knowledge of this "second holy relationship", He wanted His disciples to understand who their family really was on this earth.


Who Are Our Brother And Sisters?

   He said simply this:

Matthew 12:50   [50] For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.

     Let that thought sink in with the Holy Spirit's guidance ... and If you must ... read it a few times and listen to it's very important message.   Let it raise the question in your very soul about who your brothers, sisters, and mothers are ... Are they the brothers and sisters of your earthly parents?   Are they the people who, in more modern language, share your DNA ever so closely, i.e. your "physical family"?

     No.... that is not what He is saying at all.   He couldn't have made it any clearer!   When we except Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior those who have done the same become "our brothers, our sisters, our mothers".   That is you now have a "Physical Family" and a separate "Spirtual Family".

     We must realize that the man or women sitting next to us in church who we quite possibly only met a few years, months, weeks or even days before ... has been now made, by the word and power of our Lord Jesus Christ "Your Brother or Sister"   -   i.e. your "Spirtual Family"!


Jesus and Nicodemus

Do you remember the conversation between Jesus and Nicodemus in John Chapter 3 ?

John 3: 1 - 8  [1] There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews:  [2] The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God:  for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.  [3] Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.    [4] Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old?  can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born?    [5] Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.    [6] That which is born of the flesh is flesh;  and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.    [7] Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.    [8] The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth:  so is every one that is born of the Spirit.

     In this story we see Nicodemus, a Pharisees and a ruler of the Jews, coming to Jesus during the night.  There is, of course, a reason that he came at night ... he didn't want any of the other Jews to see him coming and talking with this radical man named Jesus since that would have given Jesus credibility as a rabbi.  Since we know that Nicodemus was "a ruler of the Jews" we also know that he was very well versed in the Jewish religion.  That is, he knew the promises of God and came to find out basically two things.  One, he wanted to know if Jesus was possibly the coming messiah fortold in the Old Testament and secondly, if he was the messiah, how does one get into heaven, "The Kingdom of God".

     Jesus, of course, knew why Nicodemus was there even without Nicodemus asking his question.  Jesus immediately got right to the point and responded to him and said "Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God."  Nicodemus, shaken since Jesus already knew his question, immediately responded with the question "How can a man be born when he is old?  can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born?  Nicodemus was basically saying, "Are you crazy or what ... I can't go back into my mother's womb now and be born again.  What are you talking about Jesus".

     Jesus responded and said   -   "That which is born of the flesh is flesh".  That is, when we are born the first time we are born of the flesh ( our mom's and dad's - our "physical family" ) as are any siblings that we have.  Jesus here is trying to explain to Nicodemus that when he said "Except a man be born again" he wasn't talking about entering into your mother's womb again.  He wasn't talking about being born of our parents.

     What Jesus was saying was that there is a "second birth" that we all must go through if we want to be part of the "Kingdom of Heaven".  That is we "must be born again".


If you do not understand
this "second birth" that Jesus is refering to here
please read:

"How can I get to Heaven?"


     Jesus said that this "second birth" was a spiritual birth   -   "that which is born of the spirit is spirit".  We understand the first birth into our "Physical Families" but here our Lord is saying that once we go through this all important "second birth" we now have a new "Spiritual Family", a new set of brothers, a new set of sisters and new mothers.  Just as once we are married and we and our spouses become one ... once you are "born again" you become part of the "Spiritual Family" of God!

If we compare these two statements of Jesus we can see the relationship between them:

Matthew 12:49-50   [49] And he stretched forth his hand toward his disciples, and said,   Behold my mother and my brethren!   [50] For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.

John 3:6  [6] That which is born of the flesh is flesh;  and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.

     We must begin to realize that our brothers and sisters in Christ, our "Spiritual Family" should be oh so very important to us. However, so many times in todays church we don't see that at all.  Our Lord "stressed" this love for our brothers and sisters in Him "so many" times in the bible:

John 13:34-35  [34] A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love [agapao] one another;  as I have loved [agapao] you, that ye also love [agapao] one another.[35] By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love [agapao] one to another.

John 15:12  This is my commandment, That ye love [agapao] one another, as I have loved you.

John 15:17  These things I command you, that ye love [agapao] one another.

     The greek word "agapao" {ag-ap-ah'-o} means "divine, unconditional, self-sacrificing, active, volitional, and thoughtful love".  We see something here that I must point out so that no one misses it.  Jesus said "By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.

     How can we miss the fact that when we, as God given "Brothers and Sisters in Christ", start showing our love for each other ... that we will see the lost coming into our churches just to find out what the heck is going on!  How many of the lost will discover that the love we have for each other is the love that Christ has for them?  How many will accept Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior if we just show our love for one another?

     Many time we need to look at the church we are attending.  Quite possibly what you think is a "Christian" church may indeed be something more than meets the eye.  ( For more on that see my article titled: " Where Is The Church? " )

     There are two personal stories that I'd like to relay to you.  One is the story of a brother in Christ that showed his brotherly love, the other is about a man who claims to be a Christian but his love for his fellow Christian is a little different.

A Brothers Love

     I was talking to a brother in Christ in the church parking lot one day.  Now we had seen each other and exchanged "good morning's" however I really didn't know anything about him nor he about me.  This was the first time that we had ever really talked.  It was during the summer and I asked what he was planning for the day and he said, "Well, they have been driving me crazy at work and I plan on just relaxing for the rest of the day.  and you?"
     I told him that my air conditioning wasn't really working too well at home and I hope to see if I could do anything with it.  I noted that I thought it probably needed freon but wasn't really sure since I didn't know that much about air conditioners.  I also told him that my cash flow was a little low but hopefully if I couldn't fix it I'd be able to call someone to service it within a few weeks.
     He responded, "Hey thats the type of work that I do ... where do you live.  I can come over in a little while and see whats up with it?"  I, of course, told him he didn't have to do that ... but he insisted so I told him where I lived and in a few hours he was there.
     After working on it for about fifteen minutes he told me what the problem was and that he could fix it in a jiffy, which he did.  When he was done I asked him how much I owed him for his time and he responded, "I'm not going to charge a brother in need ... don't worry about it."  I reached into my pocket and had about twenty dollars which I offered to him ... he declined to take it.  I said, "My brother you have given me a gift ... now please take this gift that I offer you."  He took the twenty, thanked me and I him, a left for his home.

A Brothers Love ??

     I saw another brother in Christ years ago that actually went to another local church while I was out one day.  I had something that I "really" need done at my home ASAP.  I thought that since he did this kind of work and since I was "completely" in the dark about how to do it I would ask him for some advice or possibly even help.  I let him know that my finances were "very low, bordering on almost nothing" but I knew I had to get this done or face other problems that would eventually cost more.  I also knew that at the time he was out of work and figured ... if I can help him a little maybe he can help me a little.
     He agreed to take a look and followed me home.  After looking at the situation he said, "I'll go home and work up a good price for you and even give you a big discount."  Now I knew, of course, that the supplies would be about $250.00 so I figured in my head that he would come back with a price of maybe $1,000.00 or maybe $1,250.00 which I couldn't really afford but was willing to pay even though it would wipeout my savings at the time.  That way he could make about $1,000.00 for about a 3 to 5 day project and that would help him pay his bills also.
     When this unemployed man called with his discounted price it was .... $3,500.00 !  I was "stunned" to say the least.  I told him that I would need to take a loan out just to pay him that much.  He responded, "Well, its a good price if you want me to do the work."  I let him know that I'd be doing the best to handle the situation myself.
     The truely sad part of this story is that I've given this brother a lot of money over the years ... for food, electric, his mortgage, etc.  The vast majority of which, of course, was never paid back.

     I would hope that from these two stories it is easy for you to pick out which brother is following his Lord and which is in question.

John 13:35  By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.

     Sometimes it truely seems that the Amish have discovered a secret that we have all missed.  In the Amish society if someone, a brother or sister in Christ, needs help ... they do exactly that.

     For a short time I worked in the construction field.  While there I had the opportunity to make friends with one of the local Amish men.  I asked him one day if he had ever been part of a barn or house raising within his community.  He responded with "Of course".  I asked him why ... he responded with "Christ said that if we have love one for another then we will help each other."

     In this modern world we seem to have time for our "Physical Families" ... but oh so many times neglect our "Spirtual Families" that God has given us.  I'm not suggesting that you not help out your physical brothers and sisters ... heaven forbid.  If you are blessed then your physical brothers and sisters are also part of your "Spirtual Family".  But we must remember that once we are "born again" we now have, as Jesus Christ has told us, "new brothers, sisters, and mothers".  Remember our Lords words the next time you ask yourself ... "Who are truely my brothers and sisters?"

Matthew 12:48-50   [48] But he answered and said unto him that told him, Who is my mother?   and who are my brethren?   [49] And he stretched forth his hand toward his disciples, and said,   Behold my mother and my brethren!   [50] For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.

May God Bless You

     

If you have not already done so, please consider trusting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior.

For more information on Salvation Click Here to view "How can I get to Heaven?"




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Last modified: Saturday, January 15, 2011