He replied to him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” Pointing to his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.” – Matt. 12:48-50 NIV
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Jesus Christ had taken up the role for which he came into the world, which was to fulfil his role as the salvation of Jehovah for mankind. Some of the people sincerely desired to return and serve Jehovah by accepting him for whom he says he is, but unfortunately were not as successful as they wished, simply because of knowledge deficit – Hos. 4:6. They sure needed a teacher to let them have a more complete knowledge of who Jehovah was through His words and that was a role that Jesus Christ was also eager to fulfil – Matt. 4:23; 9:35; Acts 8:31.
It was while he was in the middle of one of such teaching sessions that someone came to inform him that his mother and brothers were outside, wanting to speak to him – Matt. 12:46-47. His response to those who came with that message to him is the foundation scripture for today’s Devotional. In that response, he had chosen to question who should be regarded as his mother or brothers, and he instantly provided the answer. They were those who were willing to do the Will of his heavenly father. Going by his response, he had provided a scriptural definition of who a mother, brother or sister should be.
Ordinarily, immediate family members consist of the father, mother, brothers and sisters. In a world where family values are not to be relegated and are expected to be prioritized at all times, the mere mention of the presence of those group of people, especially the parents, to anyone will be expected to attract the attention of the one whom they are related to, especially one who claims to be representing the true god who had, in the laws given to Moses, emphasised the importance of honouring parents. The Bible says it is the first commandment with an attached Promise for all those who obey it – Exo. 20:12; Eph. 6:2-3. The reaction of Jesus Christ to the news of his blood family members being outside and waiting to see him must have therefore been shocking to most of them who were present.
The response of Jesus Christ introduced a proviso for who, in the view of a Christian, qualifies to be called a family member. It has to be someone who has and displays the willingness to do the Will of God – Josh. 1:8. Indeed blood family members, especially the parents must be honoured but only if such honour will also honour Jehovah who is the one above all. To honour Jehovah in this instance will be to prioritize the preaching or hearing of His Word above anything else.
Truth be told, any act of man that takes precedence over the request of Jehovah makes the object of that act a god and more significantly, one bigger than Jehovah, at least in that instance. It will be wrong all day long to ignore Jehovah’s request or walk out of His presence, especially in the middle of His address for any reason, no matter what moral lesson is being referenced. There should always be an order of precedence that places Jehovah above All and whilst in his presence, no one or nothing can be greater than Him, not even family members. The family at those moments are those who are equally willing to listen attentively to his words and do His Will.
To the Christian today, placing the hearing of the Word of God, which is mostly the periods of Sermon or Word Ministrations, secondary to any other act means nothing. The average Christian today has no qualms with fixing meetings or welfare visits to fellow members, during periods allocated for the delivery of the Word of God or when they are expected to be in His presence. What needs to be made clear is that the Word Minister at those moments, is the mouthpiece of Jehovah. Just as such a person is not allowed to entertain any distractions, the listeners are also under obligation to honour Jehovah in those moments above any person or thing. No other relationship matters at those times, aside from the one with God and anyone who is not in the state of listening at those moments can never be considered a family member.
The scripture revealed that they were waiting outside. That definitely speaks volumes or why should they be waiting outside at such critical moments, when they could have also suspended any other matter and joined in coming before Jehovah to feed on His Words. They definitely do not belong to the greatest family at that moment, and may be never, and it will not be advisable for anyone who is already a member of such a great family to allow a less important relationship, in whatever form, to deprive him/her of the huge benefits that is inherent in being a member of this great family.
The one who is not just physically absent, but also spiritually absent at a meeting with Jehovah, especially when He is addressing His people, cannot claim to belong to the family of God, because no individual or relationship, should be sufficient to take anyone away from His presence.
It may be true that you have sufficient evidence to prove that the Word in those moments are not from Jehovah, but the question then will be, what you are doing in such environments in the first place. If you have sufficient reason, no matter how small, to remain in that environment, then you must remain in his presence as Jehovah has several ways of reaching out to you, even in the middle of such confusion and deceptions. If the one who is talking is not representing your heavenly father, Jehovah will still communicate His message to you through several other channels available to Him. In such moments, it will be advisable to focus more on the expectation of hearing from Jehovah rather than the distraction that the one supposed to be representing Him, has become. That is the only way your waiting in His presence will be rewarded positively. May God grant us all the ability to avoid being distracted from His presence in Jesus name. Amen.