I’m so excited about giving you a sneak peek of my next book. The tentative title is 100 Questions God and Jesus Ask in the Bible; What They Reveal about God’s Nature and Our Motives.

There will be 100 devotionals, each one on one of the many questions God and Jesus ask. So check out this one and give me some feedback. Is the concept intriguing to you? Does the title communicate well? Is anything in the devotional confusing? Does it “speak” to you in any way? Thank you  for your help.

Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?

Matthew 12:48

This passage can be perplexing. We have Jesus seemingly rejecting an opportunity to respond to his mother and brothers. A messenger comes into the packed house and interrupts him. “Your mom and brothers want to talk to you.” Jesus sweeps his hand across the crowd and asks his question, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” Why would he not be responsive? Family is important and especially in the cultures of countries like Israel, the family takes precedence over everything.

Exactly. Jesus is zealous for the family of God, his spiritual brothers and sisters. They take precedence over every other person or group. The family of God is most important and will last into eternity. The earthly family is a poor copy of what God intended from the beginning and someday the real family will be together forever. 

God is a zealous God. He is fervent, ardent, devoted, and diligent. On the golf course, I once saw a mother quail grow twice as big in defense of her brood which was hiding in the bushes. A road runner came by and she strutted out with a fierce determination to protect her children. The road runner knew this was a mean mama and quickly scurried away. I knew I was watching zealousness in action.

As we think again of Jesus’s reaction to his family, we must look back at the evidence of their attitudes about Jesus and his ministry. Jesus, his disciples and his family spend a few days together in Capernaum (John 2:12). The brothers try to tell him what to do (John 7:3-4). The brothers don’t believe in him (John 7:5). The family wants to take custody of him thinking he is out of his mind (Mark 3:21). His mother is at the cross and Jesus arranges for her to be cared for by his disciple John (). The family are in the upper room after Jesus ascends into heaven (Acts 1:14). James, his half-brother, is a prominent leader in the early church.

Commentators offer some speculations for the motive of Mary and the brothers interrupting  like they want special favors. We can also easily imagine they feel ignored, replaced, and unimportant. I’ve often wondered how much Mary remembered the angel’s words and the wonder of Jesus’s birth to help her in all the uncertainty and especially at the cross. But obviously, at certain times, she was a typical mother who wanted to make sure her son was making the right choices.

Jesus uses this situation to teach a new idea. His human family represents his “old” family, Israel. But the disciples and followers are his “new” family, who will become a part of the church starting on the Day of Pentecost.

And as a zealous God is passionate about all that is good and righteous, he is zealous to develop, protect, control, and bring himself glory through his followers. And if you know Jesus as your Savior, then you are a part of that Body of Christ and God is zealous about you and over you.

  • When you think of God’s zealousness, what example in nature comes to your mind and explain why.
  • What aspect of being cared for by a zealous God is most meaningful for you personally?

Great God Almighty, I praise you for your zealousness about me and all your children. Thank you for your zealous passion about my good.