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Wednesday, February 6, 2013
Family Restoration: Jesus' Large Family Dynamics
Our Women's Bible Study at church began a new study yesterday.
I am a Small Group Leader for the Study of James: Mercy Triumphs, by Beth Moore.
I love the Book of James.
I have read it MANY times.
I am so ready to jump right into the study of . . .
"Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, becasue he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind." James 1:2-6
I can hardly wait to hear Beth Moore's thoughts on . . .
"Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him." James 1:12
I know Trials.
I understand the need to Persevere.
I pray that my Perseverance through our current Trials will finish its work, so that I may be "mature and complete".
Oh how I seek the Lord for His Wisdom, praying that He will give it to me generously.
So . . .
what does this have to do with "Family Restoration"?
No . . .
that was certainly not the topic I was expecting to hear about in our first week of studying James.
Beth starts this study by taking a look at: Who James Was.
Do you know who he was?
James was the "natural" brother of Jesus. He was the oldest son born to Joseph & Mary (after Jesus was conceived by Mary and the Holy Spirit).
Did you know that Jesus' Family had "issues" sometimes?
They weren't perfect.
(the following section is from my own study, not from Beth Moore's)
Jesus was born into a Family. Joseph & Mary were his parents. They raised him.
"Joseph and Mary . . . returned to Galilee . . . and the child grew and became strong." Luke 2:39-40
Joseph and Mary went on to have others sons and daughters. He had at least 4 brothers and 2 sisters (see Matthew 13:55-56). So, Jesus was actually raised in a "large family" . . . which brought with it a few of the "large family" dynamics that some of us have experienced.
"When he was 12 years old, they went up to the Feast . . . After the Feast was over, while his parents were returning home, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but they were unaware of it. Thinking he was in their company, they traveled on for a day. Then they began looking for him among their relatives and friends. When they did not find him, they went back to Jerusalem to look for him. After 3 days they found him . . ." Luke 2:42-46
Seriously. This is totally a "large family thing". They didn't notice their son was gone for a full day? It shows that he was just "one of the kids". He wasn't the honored, pampered child . . . always within arm's reach of his mother . . . that one might expect of the Son of God. No. He was just one of the many children that the Lord had blessed Mary & Joseph with.
"Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you." Luke 2:48
Yep. I think Jesus was in a bit of trouble with mom and dad. Don't you?
"Then he went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them." Luke 2:51
Jesus knew that he was God's Son. (see v. 49) He could have easily told Joseph, "You are not my real dad." He could have told Mary, "I have more important things to do. I only have to be obedient to God." But, he didn't.
Jesus knew that God was calling him to be obedient to his earthly mother and father.
If God required Jesus to such a task as this . . .
how much more does He call each of us to show honor to our own parents?
(okay. back to the Beth Moore Study . . .)
We saw that Jesus had his "natural family".
We also know that Jesus had a close relationship with his Disciples.
But, he did not neglect his relationship with his natural family
just because he had a close relationship with his Disciples.
"After this he went down to Capernaum with his mother and brothers and his disciples." John 2:12
He included his mother and his natural brothers in his relationship with his disciples.
However . . .
later . . .
things changed . . .
"Then Jesus entered a house, and again a crowd gathered, so that he and his disciples were not even able to eat. When his family heard about this, they went to take charge of him, for they said, "He is out of his mind." Mark 3:20
When Jesus and his disciples went about the work of the Lord . . . his family (his mother and his brothers) questioned what he was doing. They were concerned for him. And, they shared their concerns, "He is out of his mind."
How did Jesus respond to this?
Certainly not in the way that I would have hoped . . . not in the way that I would have expected.
Don't you think that he should just pull them together to explain that he is not "out of his mind"?
Don't you think that he should just explain to them that he is doing the work of the Lord?
Sadly, that is not what happened.
"Then Jesus' mother and brothers arrived. Standing outside, they sent someone in to call him. A crowd was sitting around him, and they told him, "Your mother and brothers are outside looking for you."
"Who are my mother and my brothers?" he asked.
"Then he looked at those seated in a circle around him and said, "Here are my mother and my brothers. Whoever does God's will is my brother and sister and mother." Mark 3:31-35
Jesus completely rejected his own mother and brothers?!?!
Jesus disowned his own family?!?!
This is SO NOT what I wanted to hear.
Some may actually use such a verse to justify their own rejection of their God-given natural families.
Thankfully . . .
that is not the end of the story.
"Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother . . . When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, "Dear woman, here is your son." and to the disciple, "Here is your mother." From that time on, this disciple took her into his home." John 19:25-27
I would hope and assume, that Jesus and his mother had restored their relationship before he was hanging on the cross. She knew that she needed to be there. He was glad that she was there. He wanted to make sure that she was taken care of when he was gone.
"When they arrived (in Jerusalem) they went upstairs to the room where they were staying. Those present were . . . (the Disciples). They all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers." Acts 1:12-14
Once again, Mary and the brothers of Jesus were included. They were together with the disciples, worshipping and praying. Mary and the brothers were no longer outcasts, pushed away because they didn't understand . . . because they were concerned about the work that Jesus was doing.
And, James (a brother who was earlier rejected) went on to be the author of one of the books in God's Holy Word? What a beautiful sign of family restoration! He was forgiven for his unbelief. The past was behind him, and he was now trusted with a task reserved for only a very few chosen men.
The first week of this study definitely left me with more questions than answers.
Did Jesus restore his relationship with his mother
and his brothers before he was nailed to the cross?
Jim and I fear that our relationships will not be restored before we are on our death bed.
(Kayla's dad died suddenly, at age 40, and she is so very glad that she was in good relationship with him.)
What if something were to happen to either of us before our relationships are restored?
Was it really God's Plan for Jesus to reject his mother and his brothers?
We do not see how that can possibly be God's Plan for Our Family.
What will it take to bring Family Restoration to the Big D. Family?
What will it take to bring forgiveness?
How long do we have to wait before we can put the past behind us?
Will our family ever be restored?
Will there be a day when we will all be together again,
living in unity one with another?
to be continued . . .