“And his mother and his brothers came, and standing outside they sent to him and called him. And a crowd was sitting around him, and they said to him, “Your mother and your brothers are outside, seeking you.” And he answered them, “Who are my mother and my brothers?” And looking about at those who sat around him, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! For whoever does the will of God, he is my brother and sister and mother.” Mark 3:31-35
Chicago, like so many big cities, is home to many different gangs. Gang maps of the city show that in almost every area there is some kind of gang presence. What is at the root of this? It’s really simple: the deep down desire of all humans to belong. We want to plug into some group of people who will love us, give us a sense of appreciation, and provide some type of refuge from the the pressures and storms of life.
Many homes in the United States are termed “broken” or dysfunctional due to divorce and relational problems. But this sad reality should welcome this passage of Scripture in which Jesus declares the roots of a new family system that begins (and ends) with him.
Think of all the things that separate people today. You have differing socio-economic backgrounds, ethnicity, and even religious heritage. Think of all the “-isms” that come between people: racism, classism, intellectualism, anti-semitism, sexism, etc… So what is the answer to everything that divides us? Of course, the only solution is found in the Person of Jesus Christ.
Notice what Jesus says. He is the link for all kinds of people. He is the common ground. He is the glue.
It doesn’t matter what race you are–what background you come from–or what your heritage is (or isn’t). True well-being is not being on the right side of an issue in the pages of history. In fact, each of us–including you–is on the WRONG side of history. It was your sins and my sins that put Jesus on the cross. It was your guilt and my guilt that hung him there. It was for me and you that he died. Do you believe this?
This means that your heritage–your background–your roots–are not the key to any kind of self-satisfaction or right standing with God. Jesus makes that clear in this passage. Instead, those who comprise the family of God are those in right standing with Him. Period.
This is what it means to live a Jesus-centered life. This is what it means to follow him. This is what it means to be a Christian. You cannot hold tightly onto Jesus while also holding on to something else to “qualify” you or give you some kind of “leg up” on others around you. You must make a choice. Will you hold only onto Christ today? Your true identity depends on it.
1. Think of your heritage. What does that mean for you? Are you holding on to it while trying to follow Christ?
2. Following Jesus means that he is the most important center of our lives. Everything else is a distant second. What things are competing in your life to take his place?
3. When it comes to be on the right side of history regarding an issue, we are all equal opportunity sinners. The cross of Christ declares to all that you are on the wrong side of history because your sins put Jesus on the cross. Do you really believe this?