Having finished our discussion on Jesus’ radical view on family, it is important that we (now) consider its application to our everyday lives. In other words, that we understand what doing family according to Jesus it looks like.
- You reject the family values or expectations established by the world.
1.1. (Luk 9:57-62) = Given Luke’s decision to group these events together, means that we should assume they possess the same general context from which to discern their intended principle or point. That context is family – or more specifically, the values and expectations possessed by the world’s view of family. There are three presented in these verses. Jesus opposes/rejects all three: 1) your home is where your biological family resides (57-58) = “Holes” (or dens) and “nests” represent not only an animal’s resting place but the place where its biological family resides. Humans in the world identify home – or their resting place, in the same way. It is the place where my biological family resides. Jesus however opposed such thinking (“The Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head” – i.e. My resting place -or home, is not determined by my biological family). What determined Jesus’ home (and the same would be expected of His followers) was wherever He was doing God’s work (Joh 12:26; Luk 17:21 – “the kingdom of God is in the midst of you”). IOW: home will be determined (for the Christian) by the resting place – or home, of God. Which according to Paul is the church or the church family (1Ti 3:15). 2) children must honor their parents in death or their parent’s dying wishes (59-60) = What is communicated by this man could refer to returning home for a funeral or to saying his goodbyes to his father before he dies. In either case, Jesus makes clear that no such expectation of honor toward one’s parents is recognized by God and therefore must never get in the way of any responsibilities we possess in respect to Him or His family (the church). 3) the approval of your biological family is necessary – or something you care about, when it comes to those choices you make in following Christ (61-62) = Most scholars agree the real reason this man wishes to go home and say goodbye to his family is so that while there, he can receive their approval. As before, Jesus makes clear that caring about – or adhering to, such worldly family values disqualify a person from being a part of His family (“No one [is fit for the kingdom of God] who puts his hand to the plow and looks back” = Is concerned about the opinion, approval of those they are leaving behind – e.g. Gen 19:26 w/Luk 17:20-24).
1.2. (Mar 3:31-35) = Jesus is both dismissive and disrespectful to His mother’s demands according to the world and its expectations of adult children – no longer living in the home (i.e. that they continue to respect/listen to/obey their parents). He not only refuses to go outside and speak with his mother but also exposes her and her words as foolish by using them as a teaching point w/His disciples. Jesus’ behavior toward his mother may be what the prophet Simeon is referring to when addressing Mary in (Luk 2:34-35).
1.3. Another example of Jesus’ rejection of worldly expectations when it came to biological family (or His mother) is (Joh 2:1-4) = Notice how Jesus responds to His mother who is trying to use the fact that she is His mother to manipulate Him into doing her bidding (“Woman what does that have to do w/Me?”) = He doesn’t address her by the title of mother but rather “woman” indicating that she no longer had authority to tell Him what to do.
1.5. The POINT NOT TO MISS = Jesus does NOT have the same values or expectations as the world when it comes to our biological family. His are radically different. And we are to imitate Him – not the world if we want to get to heaven.
- Your conversations with church family and outsiders are to be focused on family talk: God and His Word/gospel.
2.1. (Eph 5:15-20) = Spiritual things/God’s Word and gospel (e.g. what we are learning, what we are thankful for, Who God is, and what He has done in our life or is currently doing in our life) are to be the focus of our speech and actions – especially when w/others (Col 3:16-17).
2.2. This includes w/unbelievers (Mat 10:27) “proclaim on the rooftops” = To all people –not just those who are believers. Otherwise, we show ourselves to be guilty of two things: 1) we are fearing men rather than fearing God (i.e. caring too much about what they think of us or will do to us) (27-31), 2) we are ashamed of Christ (which means He will be ashamed –and deny us, on J Day) (32-33).
2.3. Consider then: If you are hanging out with biological family on the holidays who are not believers, is this what you wb doing? If not, then you show yourself to be a coward who is ashamed of Christ (Rom 1:15-16 = Paul was “eager” [the opposite of reluctant, having a hard time waiting or holding back] to preach the gospel b/c he was “not ashamed” of it).
- You have no fellowship with anyone who does not welcome conversation about God and His gospel or refuses to act on what they have heard (including biological family and friends).
3.1. Such people are a waste of the time God has given you to be advancing His kingdom. This is the point behind Jesus’ parable of the talents (Mat 25). We are not to waste any of the resources that God has given us to advance His kingdom (including time – which once more is what we are doing when we spend time with those not interested in God/gospel conversations – Eph 5:15-16).
3.2. Jesus is explicit how we are to handle family/friends who do not want to hear about God or the gospel (Mat 10:1-15) = Notice the phrase, “shake off the dust from your feet” is coupled with the mention of “Sodom and Gomorrah.” That b/c Jesus’ instruction is an allusion to the command given to Lot and his family in (Gen 19:17). Shaking off the dust, therefore, refers to not lingering or hanging around. It means to move quickly away from such people or places (to “escape”) so as not to be caught w/in the impending blast radius. The people that Jesus is referring to (btw) –included biological family. Most of those in these villages (since they were Israelites) were relatives of the disciples. They were going into their hometowns and villages. The majority of these people were also those who professed to already be followers of God (e.g. those already claiming to be Christians). The important question (then) to consider is this, “How are you responding to family (or friends) who don’t want to have God (or gospel) conversations—or continue to linger – or make excuses, as to why they are not responding in repentance and belief? BTW: there is a big difference between the person who says “we want to hear more” and the one who is unresponsive or (in hearing more) continues to linger or make excuses. Our response should be markedly different between these two groups of people. With the former, we stick around (and continue evangelizing them), the other we run from. We stop wasting the borrowed time God has given us. We stop hanging around in the blasting zone lest we be destroyed w/them (Luk 17:21 – “Remember Lot’s wife”). Why would God cause us to perish w/such people? B/C we are now guilty (of their same crimes) by our fellowship w/them (2Jo 1:19-21).
3.3. (2Co 6:14-16a) = To not be “unequally yoked” w/“unbelievers”(which btw includes unbelieving family) means (according to what Paul says in the rest of verse 14) no “partnership”, no “fellowship.” IOW: No relationship, no hanging out or spending time w/them, no recreating with them or calling them your “best friends” or “favorite people”. We have (as v15 says) no “share with an unbeliever” (any more than Christ does with “Belial” or Satan). We can have association w/them (according to 1Co 5:9-10). But never fellowship – or relationship, that is intentional –unless that intention is to introduce them to our world w/God and to share the gospel. This means this is what is happening when they are with us. They are hearing about and observing our relationship w/God. We are shining our light among them –not hiding it in shame (Mat 5:16). Notice Paul says that such lack of fellowship w/them is necessary to possessing (or continuing to possess) fellowship or a relationship w/God. (16b-18) = No covenant fellowship/relationship w/God if you have fellowship/relationship w/them. Hence why (7:1) = “Holiness” refers to what we no longer tolerate. In this case, fellowship/relationship with unbelievers or false believers – biological family (or otherwise). The world is on the opposite end of the spectrum and on their way to hell because of it. In the world, it is all about toleration whereas following God is all about holiness (no toleration). Coming to Christ and being in saving relationship with Him requires we be on the side of holiness.
3.4. Consider (then) WWJD? Do you think He would hang out at family reunions or get together with biological family on the holidays – unless it was to speak about God? Yet Jesus and His disciples were instrumental in seeing a lot of people get saved. How? B/C they took that (otherwise waste of time) and focused it on those welcomed to God.