In Mark 3:32, we read about an interaction between Jesus and His family. In truth, it is more an attempted interaction, because the crowd is so large that Jesus’s family is unable to approach Him. In this passage, Jesus’s comes to see Jesus, and a messenger comes to inform Jesus that His family has arrived.

Jesus makes the response that would have been shocking to those in the crowd: he refers to the people around Him as His family. He was surrounded with those who had committed their lives to Him, and though Jesus did not reject the value of His earthly family, we can imagine that they felt slighted all the same.

When I read Scripture it is helpful to find the characters with whom I can identify. The first people I see are those who surround Jesus. Like them, we are none of us the literal parents of siblings of Jesus. But in our commitment to Christ, we have been adopted into His family. It gives whole new meaning to the habit of referring to each other as “brothers and sisters in Christ.” While all of us on the Asia-Pacific Region come from different nations and backgrounds, it is a joy to celebrate our kinship in Christ.

But that kinship also represents a danger: that as we begin to think of ourselves as Christ’s family, we begin to feel entitled as family members. We see this at work among Jesus’s biological family, who had their presence announced to Jesus while He was among the crowds. The implication is that Jesus had spent enough time with all of those other people, and now it was time to tend to the people who should matter most to Him. Do we as the followers of Christ believe ourselves to be more important than those who are coming to Jesus for the first time?

Being a part of the family of God is a joy and a blessing. As we interact on a daily basis with people different from us, I pray we will be open to the work God is doing among all his people to bring us closer to Him.