You’ve probably heard the proverb, “Blood is thicker than water.” It means that while we may argue and even fight with our family, we’re still bound to them in ways that we will never be bound to our friends. So, no matter what state of relationship we’re in with our family members, we’re still likely to do things for them that we wouldn’t do for anyone else.
Which is why Jesus’ statement turns heads when He says: “Who are My mother and My brothers?… Whoever does the will of God is My brother and sister and mother.” (Mark 3:33-35). He’s asserting a whole new way of relating to each other. In God’s Kingdom, Jesus says, we’re not joined to each other by birth. We’re not bound to each other by traditional kinship. We’re not knit together primarily as a biological family. Rather, we find our identity, kinship, and community in and through the relationship we share in God. All those who live in and work for God’s Kingdom are family.
It’s easy to imagine Jesus is using this as a clever turn of phrase to engender loyalty among His followers – “Trust Me, you all are way more important to Me than My family.” Except that He goes on to live it and in this way prove it. Again and again in Mark’s Gospel Jesus breaks down barriers and breaks the rules about who can associate with whom, inviting more and more people – and as we’ve already seen it’s usually the most unlikely people – to join His family, His fellowship, His new community formed not by the blood of biological birth but the water of baptism and the sweat of those willing to toil for the ideals of the Kingdom.
Which means that Jesus is starting the original “blended family,” drawing people then and now from all different walks of life, ethnicities, backgrounds, nationalities and traditions into one large family, the family of God. So, I guess, at least when it comes to the Kingdom of God, that “water is thicker than blood” after all. (DAVID J. LOSE)
REFLECTION AND APPLICATION:
• Review my own family relationships, both by blood and by Jesus blood. Do I love and care for those in the local and greater church body, reconcile with them if necessary? Do I love those I do not like, till I like them?
• How would Jesus respond to our world? As Jesus demonstrated in the passage in Mark 3:31-35, where do we need to be countercultural to be faithful disciples?