Thesis:A major stumbling block to entering into participation in the Kingdom of God is one's relationships.
Introduction:Last week we concluded our studies of Jesus' oblique presentation of the mysteries of the Kingdom of God. We studied those under the thesis of 8:10 -- that "disciples" alone are "given to know" the true nature of the Kingdom of God and the blessedness of its "Life".
This morning we come to the next concept in Luke's presentation of Jesus' training of those disciples. It is couched in the three-verse record of Jesus' renunciation of His mother and brothers. I use the word "renunciation" as an explanation of what I understand to be Luke's point in this record. Because the idea that Jesus was "renouncing" His earthly family is as touchy an issue as it is, I want to take the time to explain what I believe is going on here.
I. The Larger Issues of the Context.
A. Before the "mother and brothers" record, the overall issue is Kingdom fruitfulness.
1. The big idea of the parable of the sower/soils is "fruitfulness": an explanation for why it exists or does not exist.
2. The combined weight of the follow-up parables is that of a warning about the two major reasons for unfruitfulness: secrecy and hearing without the proper intent.
B. After the "mother and brothers" record, the overall issue is "faith".
1. In the record of the storm at sea, the record zeroes in on Jesus' question: Where is your faith?
2. In the record of the exorcism of "Legion", the record zeroes in on Jesus' "commission" of the recipient of His grace to "publish" what had happened to him among those who begged Jesus to leave their borders [this appears to be a harbinger of Jesus' "commission" of the Twelve as recorded in Luke 9].
3. In the final record of the chapter, there is a deliberate "story within a story" wherein the issue is, on the one hand, "thy faith hath made thee whole" and, on the other, "fear not: keep on excluding all but faith and she shall be made whole."
C. Thus we conclude that the issue of the chapter is "fruitfulness by faith" and those elements which block that faith that leads to fruit.
1. This means that the "family" issue is either a "fruitfulness" contribution to it or a "danger to fruitfulness" contribution.
2. Being "between" also signals a high level of importance.
II. The Larger Teaching of Jesus Regarding "Family" Issues.
A. First, the issue of "family" is fundamentally a relationship issue that targets the appetites of the "soul".
1. The issue of the "soul" is the issue of "security" and its related mechanism; relational harmony.
2. The issue of "family" is simply the most significant relational platform of all.
B. Second, Jesus revealed three major concepts regarding the believer's attitude toward this issue of "family" as the primary arena of the "soul".
1. Luke 12:51 in context.
a. As a fundamental element of Messianic expectation, Jesus said that we should not think that His intermediate purposes in coming included "giving peace upon the earth".
1) Such a "result" is too dependent upon the attitudes of those who are "on the earth" to be a part of Jesus' most fundamental objectives, given the "problem" of our larger text: faith.
2) The "truth" issues of "Life" are far more basic and necessary than "being peaceful".
a) This is not a contradiction of Hebrews 12:14 because of the biblical assignment of responsibility upon the one who is out of step with the truth.
b) This is the explanation for Matthew 10:21.
b. As a fundamental element of Messianic expectation, Jesus said that the issue of conflict within the family would be from "henceforth".
2. Luke 14:26 in context.
a. As a fundamental element of Messianic discipleship, Jesus said that we are not His disciples if we have not put Him above all others because we cannot be.
b. At the root of this Messianic discipleship issue is one reality: the lusts of the "soul" cannot be allowed to be the guiding principle for decision making.
3. Luke 18:29-30 in context.
a. As a fundamental element of Messianic character, Jesus said that it is "verily" impossible to "sacrifice" for the Kingdom's sake beyond a limited time frame.
b. In the outworking of the fundamental Messianic character, Jesus allowed that there might well be a "final" limited time frame that would result in death rather than "receiving manifold more in this present time", but this would simply move the disciple into a more direct "eternal Life" experience.
III. The Larger Dangers of Jesus' Declaration.
A. There is the danger that one might react to Jesus' teaching by embracing it without discernment and cutting off relationships.
1. Jesus did not remove "family", He redefined it.
2. Cutting off relationships is a subtle form of unbelief in that it puts the focus upon the "protection" of the "soul" -- a focus that Jesus disallows to any who would be His "disciple".
B. There is the danger that one might react to Jesus' teaching by simply rejecting it in direct disobedience.