The Extended Family
by Paul G. Humber, M.S.
“But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life” (Mark 10:30).
When Jesus saw a mother grieving over the death of her only son, “He had compassion on her, and said unto her, Weep not” (Luke 7:13), and returned him alive to his mother.
The situation at the cross has some parallels to the above, but a new solution for the grieving mother was necessary. It was important that the Son on the cross stay there in order to save her. She earlier had confessed such a need (cf. Luke 1:47). The solution to the immediate need, however, was found in the circle of faith. Mary was to seek comfort in another “son” who was already standing nearby—John. He, in turn, was to care for Mary as he would for his own mother (John 19:26,27).
Consider spiritual relationships in Christ. The one who does the will of the heavenly Father, “the same is my brother, and sister, and mother,” Jesus said (Matthew 12:50). John seems indeed to have grasped the broader message: “My little children” (I John 2:1). Paul, similarly, called Timothy his “own son in the faith” (I Timothy 1:2)—with familial terms being used for Titus, Onesimus, and Rufus' mother, also (Titus 1:4, Philemon 10, and Romans 16:13). He tells us to entreat an older man “as a father; and the younger men as brethren; The elder women as mothers; the younger as sisters” (I Timothy 5:1,2). In our text for today, we learn that broken physical relationships which occur as a result of faith in Christ will be replaced “an hundredfold . . . brethren, sisters, fathers, mothers, wives, children” (Matthew 19:29, Mark 10:30).
Believers, because of Jesus, have been brought into a big family—a family of faith. The Lord is to be praised! PGH