Living in God’s Family

By Mark D. Roberts

September 8, 2016

“Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.”

Mark 3:35


People on a hill backlit by the sun.In Mark 3, the family of Jesus “went to take charge of him” because they said, “He is out of his mind” (3:21). His mother and brothers came to visit him, no doubt to try and dissuade him from continuing his scandalous work. While they waited outside of a home for Jesus, somebody reported their presence and desire to speak with him. Jesus’ response was, no doubt, surprising to all: “Who are my mother and my brothers?” (3:33). Then he added, “Here are my mother and my brothers! Anyone who does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother” (3:34-35).

In a culture that prized family above just about everything, these words must have been shocking. Not only did Jesus fail to honor his family in the expected way, but also he spoke of family in radically new terms. True “family” is not ultimately a matter of blood relationship, but of kinship in obedience to God. This kinship begins by God’s grace in Christ, when he adopts us into his family (see Romans 8:15-23). It is expressed as we seek and do God’s will.

This statement of Jesus challenges me to look afresh at my own life: Am I living as brother of Jesus? Am I doing the will of God . . . really? Am I living out my true identity as a child in the family of God? Can I become so focused on my natural family that I neglect the needs of my Christian family? Am I living as a brother in the family of God?


So, what about you? Are you seeking to do God’s will in your life, so that you might be a member of the family of Jesus?

How are your relationships with your brothers and sisters in the family of God?

Do you ever feel tempted to prioritize your natural family and deprioritize the family of God?


Heavenly Father, how blessed I am to be part of your family! Thank you for adopting me as your child! Thank you for the incredible privilege of calling you “Father”!

Help me, gracious God, to live as a member of your family. May I faithfully obey your will, seeking always to honor you as my Father. May I embrace my sisters and brothers in your family, caring for them and sharing life with them. Amen.


Explore more at the Theology of Work Project online Bible commentary: Suffering with Christ in Order to Be Glorified with Christ (Romans 8:15–17)

Mark D. Roberts

Senior Strategist

Dr. Mark D. Roberts is a Senior Strategist for Fuller’s Max De Pree Center for Leadership, where he focuses on the spiritual development and thriving of leaders. He is the principal writer of the daily devotional, Life for Leaders,...

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