Written by Audrey E. Charles
When Jesus therefore saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing by,
He said to His mother, “Woman, behold your son!”
Then He said to the disciple, “Behold your mother!”
And from that hour that disciple took her to his own home.
Jesus’ love for His mother is evident in that, even while He was suffering on the cross He thought about her well-being. He knew she would miss Him terribly and wanted to make provision for her welfare. With that, He placed His mother in the care of His close friend John, and John in turn became Jesus’ substitute as Mary’s son.
This was not the first time that Jesus would leave His mother. In fact, starting at age twelve, He was about His Father’s business, and that entailed being away from her for extended periods of time.
There were times when it even seemed that He was ignoring His family. We read in Matthew 12:46-50 that Jesus’ mother and brothers were standing outside the place where He was ministering, desiring to speak to Him. When Jesus was told that they were there and were asking for Him, His response must have puzzled the onlookers. Instead of excusing Himself and going out to greet His family He posed a question. “Who are My mother and brothers?” He asked. Then He answered His own question. He pointed to His disciples and said essentially, “Look at My mother and brothers right here. Whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my mother and brothers.”
Jesus is not insulting His family here, but rather using their visit as an opportunity to teach a principle about the Kingdom of God. Unlike the world system in which family is often limited to those who share the same DNA as you, Jesus removed those limitations. He didn’t deny that those waiting outside were His family, but rather He included those who were grafted in also.
There will be times when you will have to make the choice between your biological family and your wider spiritual family – the Body of Christ. Your biological family may expect certain things from you, especially if they don’t share in your enthusiasm and commitment to the Lord. If you are not careful and discerning, guilt and a sense of obligation can often play a part in your decisions. Please be sure to choose wisely, seeking the Father’s will for you, and then doing it.
Sometimes friends are closer to you than your biological family. Like the people in Jesus’ day, they have become your brothers, sisters, mothers etc. However, there will be those who God places in your life for a season, and you must discern when that season is up and be willing to relinquish that loved one to go on to their next assignment.
It is so important to remember that no one should be held in higher esteem in your life than God Himself. Learning to hold loved ones with an open hand and not a closed fist is no easy feat, but it is absolutely necessary in this journey to freedom. Because of the emotional connections that we have to our loved ones – be they biological or otherwise – our emotions can wreak havoc during those times when we must separate from them in order to usher in a higher good.
Jesus promised, “Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife[a] or children or lands, for My sake and the gospel’s, who shall not receive a hundredfold now in this time—houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions—and in the age to come, eternal life." – Mark 10: 29, 30
If a beautiful butterfly landed on the palm of your hand and stayed there for a while, you would probably admire it and savor its presence. However, if you noticed that the butterfly was about to fly away you wouldn’t close your fingers around it to trap it in your hand, would you? Doing so would mean certain injury or even death to the innocent creature. We are to treat each of our treasured relationships like that butterfly, holding them close to our hearts, savoring the fellowship, but at the same time allowing them the freedom to move on as God requires.
Who or what are your greatest earthly treasures? Are you willing to take up your cross of walking alone without them? If so, then declare to whoever or whatever that treasure is, “________________________ (insert the name in the blank), I give you over to the Father. Father, here is my greatest treasure.”