Today it is imperative that one have discernment to determine who is a true brother, sister, or mother given how divided this world is becoming. That being said, let us look at the Bible to see what it says about this topic.
Matthew 12:46-50, Mark 3:31-35, Luke 8:19-21 – “While Yeshua was still speaking to the crowds, His mother and brothers came to Him, and they were unable to get to Him because of the crowd. And it was reported to Him, ‘Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside, wishing to see You.’ But He answered and said to them, ‘Who is My mother and who are My brothers? My mother and My brothers are these who hear the word of God and do it’.”
How many times has a family member, perhaps even a pastor, said to you, “I’m busy serving the Lord. You’ll just have to wait until I’m finished before I can help you”. Is this what the above scriptures teach? Not at all. Quite the opposite, in fact.
Yeshua At The Temple (Luke 2:41-51)
Joseph, Mary, and Yeshua would attend the Feast of Pesach (Passover) each year in Jerusalem. On one occasion, when Yeshua was twelve years old, he stayed behind talking to the teachers [didaskalos διδάσκαλος G1320] when his parents left to return home. Upon noticing he was missing, his parents returned to find him. Mary lets him know how anxious she has been, and he replies, “Why is it that you were looking for Me? Did you not know that I had to be in My Father’s house?” (Luke 2:41-50).
In other words, many would try to convince you, Yeshua replies, “I’m busy serving the Lord.” But does he then say, “You’ll just have to wait until I’m finished before I can help you?” Not at all. Luke 2:51 informs us that “He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and He continued in subjection to them”. When Mary [perhaps with hands on her hips and the best “Tool-time look” she can muster] informs Yeshua that he is to leave the Temple and return home to Nazareth with her and Joseph, Yeshua doesn’t turn back to his mother and remind her that “he’s busy”. Just the opposite: Yeshua continues to serve his father, Yahweh, by serving the needs of his earthly family first.
Yeshua At The Wedding (John 2:1-11)
Yeshua and His disciples have been invited to a wedding, most likely the wedding of a close family member or friend, as His mother, Mary, appears to be intimately concerned with the serving of the food and wine. At some point in the celebration, the wine was running out, which would have been a great embarrassment to the wedding party hosts. So, Mary asks Yeshua to provide some more, and he replies, “Dear woman, that’s not our problem, My time has not yet come.”
In other words, many would try to convince you, Yeshua replies, “I’m busy serving the Lord – I don’t have time for this, you’ll just have to wait until I’m finished before I can help you.” But is Yeshua too busy? Not at all. John 2:7-8 informs us that “Yeshua told the servants, “Fill the jars with water,” and when the jars had been filled, he said, “Now dip some out, and take it to the master of ceremonies.” Once again, Yeshua continues to serve Yahweh by serving the needs of his earthly family and others first.
Yeshua At The Cross (John19:25-27)
This time we find Yeshua having been beaten, spat on, scourged, and nailed to a tree (cross). This is his most important service to Yahweh, and also to all humanity, so one might think that nothing could interrupt this service. But is that true? Not at all!
The disciple John tells us that looking down from the cross, Yeshua sees his mother and himself standing nearby, and says, “Dear woman, here is your son” and to John, “Here is your mother”. Now some would try to convince you that Yeshua would be thinking, “I’m busy serving the Lord – I’ll be back in three days, so I’ll deal with it then”. But were these Yeshua’ thoughts? Not at all. Even from the cross, Yeshua continues to serve Yahweh by serving the needs of his earthly family first.
Yeshua In Other Places
Upon entering Peter’s home to further teach and instruct his disciples, Yeshua learns that Peter’s mother is sick in bed with a fever and immediately interrupts his “time table” to heal her (Matthew 8:14-15, Mark 1:30-31, Luke 4:38-39).
Twice, while praying that the cup of wrath might be removed, that another method might be found for him to complete his service to Yahweh and all humanity, Yeshua returns to his sleeping disciples in Gethsemane to see if they are awake, praying, and okay. Again, an interruption to his “time table”. (Matthew 26:39-44, Mark 14:32-41)
Yeshua And Family (Matthew 12:46-50, Mark 3:31-35, Luke 8:19-21)
This time we find Yeshua speaking to a crowd, perhaps inside a home, and while doing so his mother and brothers arrive and seek to speak to him. He is informed that they are there, and he replies, “Who are My mother and My brothers? My mother and My brothers are these who hear the word of God and do it”.
In other words, many would try to convince you, Yeshua replies, “I’m busy serving the Lord – I don’t have time for my family, let them wait until I’m done teaching”. But is he pushing his mother and brothers aside in favor of those to whom he is speaking? Not at all. Just the opposite. Yeshua turns to those he is speaking, and invites them to become part of his family – not just his immediate earthly family of Mary, Joseph, and his earthly siblings, but part of the family of God. He proclaims that everyone who accepts him as Lord and Savior and does the will of his heavenly father becomes his mother, his brothers, his sisters.
Is Yahweh and service to Him Yeshua’s first priority? Absolutely. Does Yeshua love Yahweh more than any other? Absolutely. However, Yeshua never let His primary service to Yahweh, His heavenly Father, interfere with His servicing the needs of His earthly family or others. Any family member, any friend, any pastor, in short anyone that uses the excuse, “I’m busy serving the Lord. You’ll just have to wait until I’m finished before I can help you”, has completely misinterpreted scripture and has no understanding of what serving Yahweh, Yeshua, and the Ruach Ha’Kodesh really encompasses.
Serving others before serving oneself is serving God first, is loving God with all your heart, soul, and strength. The inability to interrupt one’s own time table to meet the needs of others, while claiming to serve the Lord, is serving oneself first and is prideful, arrogant, self-absorbed behavior that has no place in a true follower of Yeshua.
The message that all who serve the Lord are part and parcel of Yahweh’s family has been proclaimed from the beginning of time. The Jews were to include and invite the Gentiles into Yahweh’s family. They missed the point. Anyone who claims Yeshua is pushing his mother and brothers aside has also missed the point that Yeshua is fulfilling the command to the Jews to include and invite the non-believing Jews and Gentiles into Yahweh’s family. He is not limiting who his family is, he is not ignoring who his family is, he is not ignoring his “family’s” needs, he is including and inviting all who hear his words to be part of Yahweh’s extended family.
Full Text of Scriptures Used
Luke 2:41-51 –“Now His parents went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover. And when He became twelve, they went up there according to the custom of the Feast; and as they were returning, after spending the full number of days, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. But His parents were unaware of it, but supposed Him to be in the caravan, and went a day’s journey; and they began looking for Him among their relatives and acquaintances. When they did not find Him, they returned to Jerusalem looking for Him. Then, after three days they found Him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions. And all who heard Him were amazed at His understanding and His answers. When they saw Him, they were astonished; and His mother said to Him, ‘Son, why have You treated us this way? Behold, Your father and I have been anxiously looking for You.’ And He said to them, ‘Why is it that you were looking for Me? Did you not know that I had to be in My Father’s house?’ But they did not understand the statement which He had made to them. And He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and He continued in subjection to them; and His mother treasured all these things in her heart.”
John 2:1-10 – “The next day there was a wedding celebration in the village of Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, and Jesus and his disciples were also invited to the celebration. The wine supply ran out during the festivities, so Jesus’ mother told him, “They have no more wine.” “Dear woman, that’s not our problem,” Jesus replied. “My time has not yet come.” But his mother told the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” Standing nearby were six stone water jars, used for Jewish ceremonial washing. Each could hold twenty to thirty gallons. Jesus told the servants, “Fill the jars with water.” When the jars had been filled, he said, “Now dip some out, and take it to the master of ceremonies.” So the servants followed his instructions. When the master of ceremonies tasted the water that was now wine, not knowing where it had come from (though, of course, the servants knew), he called the bridegroom over. “A host always serves the best wine first,” he said. “Then, when everyone has had a lot to drink, he brings out the less expensive wine. But you have kept the best until now!”
John 19:25-27 – “Standing near the cross were Jesus’ mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary (the wife of Clopas), and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother standing there beside the disciple he loved, he said to her, ‘Dear woman, here is your son.’ And he said to this disciple, ‘Here is your mother.’ And from then on this disciple took her into his home.”
Matthew 8:14-15 – “When Jesus came into Peter’s home, He saw his mother-in-law lying sick in bed with a fever. He touched her hand, and the fever left her; and she got up and waited on Him.”
Mark 1:30-31 – “Now Simon’s mother-in-law was lying sick with a fever; and immediately they spoke to Jesus about her. And He came to her and raised her up, taking her by the hand, and the fever left her, and she waited on them.”
Luke 4:38-39 – “Then He got up and left the synagogue, and entered Simon’s home. Now Simon’s mother-in-law was suffering from a high fever, and they asked Him to help her. And standing over her, He rebuked the fever, and it left her; and she immediately got up and waited on them.”
Matthew 26:39-44 – “And He went a little beyond them, and fell on His face and prayed, saying, ‘My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will.’ And He came to the disciples and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, ‘So, you men could not keep watch with Me for one hour? Keep watching and praying that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.’ He went away again a second time and prayed, saying, ‘My Father, if this cannot pass away unless I drink it, Your will be done.’ Again He came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were heavy. And He left them again, and went away and prayed a third time, saying the same thing once more.”
Mark 14:32-41 – “They came to a place named Gethsemane; and He said to His disciples, ‘Sit here until I have prayed.’ And He took with Him Peter and James and John, and began to be very distressed and troubled. And He said to them, ‘My soul is deeply grieved to the point of death; remain here and keep watch.’ And He went a little beyond them, and fell to the ground and began to pray that if it were possible, the hour might pass Him by. And He was saying, ‘Abba! Father! All things are possible for You; remove this cup from Me; yet not what I will, but what You will.’ And He came and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, ‘Simon, are you asleep? Could you not keep watch for one hour? Keep watching and praying that you may not come into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.’ Again He went away and prayed, saying the same words. And again He came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were very heavy; and they did not know what to answer Him. And He came the third time, and said to them, ‘Are you still sleeping and resting? It is enough; the hour has come; behold, the Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of sinners’.”
Matthew 12:46-50 – “While Yeshua was still speaking to the crowds, behold, His mother and brothers were standing outside, seeking to speak to Him. Someone said to Him, ‘Behold, Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside seeking to speak to You.’ But Yeshua answered the one who was telling Him and said, ‘Who is My mother and who are My brothers?’ And stretching out His hand toward His disciples, He said, ‘Behold My mother and My brothers! For whoever does the will of My Father who is in heaven, he is My brother and sister and mother’.”
Mark 3:31-35 – “His mother and His brothers arrived, and standing outside they sent word to Him and called Him. A crowd was sitting around Him, and they said to Him, ‘Behold, Your mother and Your brothers are outside looking for You.’ Answering them, He said, ‘Who are My mother and My brothers?’ Looking about at those who were sitting around Him, He said, ‘Behold My mother and My brothers! ‘For whoever does the will of God, he is My brother and sister and mother’.”
Luke 8:19-21 –“And His mother and brothers came to Him, and they were unable to get to Him because of the crowd. And it was reported to Him, ‘Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside, wishing to see You.’ But He answered and said to them, ‘My mother and My brothers are these who hear the word of God and do it’.”