The Gospel of Luke

This devotional is written by Joseph Watt. Joseph Watt recently married his beautiful wife, Heidi Watt. She is great. He is a good man who likes to take walks.

Luke 8:19-21

Jesus' mother and brothers

19 Now Jesus' mother and brothers came to see him, but they were not able to get near him because of the crowd. 20 Someone told him, 'Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to see you.'
21 He replied, 'My mother and brothers are those who hear God's word and put it into practice.'


In a culture that is told to put family above all else, you would not be alone in thinking that Jesus' response to his mother and brothers not being able to see him seems a little cold, if not dismissive. I too was initially surprised, and yet at second read, I've found these verses particularly powerful for me. I know that I am part of God's family, and yet, I still struggle at times to get my head around it, and what that means. You see, it's easy to see the invitation into God's family as a figure of speech; as a welcome to be close. It is this verse which is the very opposite of dismissal of Jesus' family, but rather a very face-value welcoming of his family; us. I almost read this as Jesus saying directly to you and I "You see, I wasn't lying. When I welcomed you into God's family, I meant it."

The other key point I realised that Jesus made, is highlighting the significance of obedience to God. I would have loved to have read the verses and initially said "well, of course, he's doing God's work", but I primarily thought of Jesus' responsibility to his flesh and blood. However, just as when Jesus went missing in the temple in Luke 2:41-52, his priority is his Father, God, and not making sure that Mary and Joseph knew where he was. I see this as an example for myself, that though I feel that many different things in my life should be the priority, there is one truth, which is that God needs to take priority in my life. In our world, collectively and individually, this sometimes goes against what we feel, just as Jesus' words initially felt counter-cultural, but that doesn't make it any less true.

Father, we thank you for welcoming us into your family. We're sorry for the times that we forget that we are genuine children of God, and we pray that you help us to remember who we are in your eyes. With the overwhelming joy of being in your family, we ask you to help us put you first, especially when this is difficult for us.


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