Thesis:Jesus will reject every attempt by any person to thwart the pursuit of the will of God.
Introduction:In our introduction to Jesus' renunciation of "His mother and His brethren" last week, we attempted to set the issue into its larger context by appealing to the other three texts in Luke that address Jesus' attitude toward "family". In those texts, we saw that there are three basic issues that are involved. Luke 12:51 says that Jesus actually came to disrupt corrupt families so that our Messianic expectation should not be "peace in the family". Luke 14:26 says that Jesus refuses to accept any who refuse to put Him first in their lives as "disciples" so that our concept of Messianic discipleship cannot be that of the eclectic polytheist who simply picks and chooses which idols will be worshipped. And Luke 18:29-30 says that Jesus refuses to permit those who really are His disciples to make any final sacrifices so that our concept of the Messianic character is that of a Giver and not a Taker.
On that foundation, this morning we are going to look into the actual details of Jesus' dealings with Mary and His brothers so that we may better understand why He acted like He did.
I. Our First Consideration: The Coming Test.
A. Mary stands out in our understanding for three reasons.
1. She was an exceptionally pliant young woman when God informed her that His will for her included a miraculous, but difficult, pregnancy.
2. She was destined by the will of God to have to watch her firstborn Son suffer a terrible and enormous injustice [Note Luke 2:35].
3. She is revealed by our current text as significantly unprepared for the body blow that the will of God included for her.
B. Mary stands for every would-be "disciple".
1. Noone escapes the hard body blows that come: Hebrews 12:6 says pointedly, "For whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth, and sourgeth every son whom He receiveth", and verses 12-13 exhort us to move forward under that burden.
2. Everyone is tempted to attempt to sidestep this difficult process (called "sorrowful" by the NASB translation of Hebrews 12:11).
a. There was a significant difference between Mary and her offspring in our record.
1) John 7:5 tells us pointedly that the "brothers" were unbelievers.
a) This means, first, that their reasons for coming to Jesus were different from Mary's.
b) This means, second, that Mary was letting her sons guide the decision-making in her life concerning Jesus, the very thing this text warns against.
2) Mary's own reasons for coming after Jesus were driven by fear, not faith.
b. But this "difference" was undetectable at the overt level of discernment.
3. No disciple lives unconfronted by Jesus: His own mother suffered the rejection and embarrassment of Jesus' words that day.
C. Mary is in danger of being subject to Jesus' clear principle of loss in Luke 8:18.
II. Our Second Consideration: The Blind Exaltation of the Unworthy.
A. Luke's words tell us more than is apparent to us in our translations.
1. In describing the action of Mary and the brothers, Luke used a word that typically means "to come to fulfill a purpose".
a. In the text in its context, there is only one acceptable "purpose": to "hear" the word of God so that it might be done.
b. By choosing the word he did, Luke intended his reader to understand that there was something underhanded going on.
2. In describing the inability of Mary and the brothers, Luke used a second word that is notable for its uniqueness to the New Testament and means "to gain control over".
a. In the text, the "inability" was the result of two major issues.
1) The crowd was a major problem.
2) Jesus' attitude toward "family" issues was insurmountable.
b. The goal was frustrated.
B. The point of Luke's words was one: the mother and brothers had exalted some pitiful idols of their own over God and His glorious Word and Jesus was having none of it.
III. Our Third Consideration: Jesus' Unbending Demand.
A. Jesus clearly rejected the closest human relationships that He had in this world if blood connection and longevity count.
B. Jesus clearly exalted a "doublet" of necessity for anyone who would be His disciple.
1. He relentlessly insisted upon people giving God a legitimate "hearing".
2. He, just as relentlessly, insisted that such a "hearing" would have to move into a practical "doing".
IV. Our Fourth Consideration: the Ambiguity.
A. "Hearing and doing" is extremely general.
1. This is a necessity in light of God's particularization of His dealings with His kids.
2. This tends to make it easier to ignore, so God simply does what He has in mind and forces the "kids" to adjust.
B. "Hearing and doing" do have a couple of base-line characteristics.
1. They are outlined in Romans 1:21 in contrastive terms.
a. The ungodly world refuses to acknowledge God as God.
b. The ungodly world refuses its most basic responsibility toward this God: active recognition of grace and response to it.
2. They are reinforced in 1 Thessalonians 5:18 in positive terms.
a. There is no exception to the insistence that we both recognize grace in every circumstance and respond to it properly.
b. There is no allowance of any demeaning of God because of the circumstances.