While Jesus was still talking to the crowd, his mother and brothers stood outside, wanting to speak to him. Someone told him, "Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to speak to you." He replied to him, "Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?" Pointing to his disciples, he said, "Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother." (Matthew 12:46-50)
Was Jesus disavowing his family?Jesus was not disavowing his mother and his brothers. He was using this example to make a teaching lesson that our spiritual lives and the spiritual lives of others are more important than the family of the physical body.
From other verses, we have seen that Jesus cared about his mother and his brothers. At least one of his brothers - James - also became a disciple of Jesus. And Jesus instructed one of his disciples to take care of his mother while he was being crucified:
When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to her, "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 19:26-27)
This also points to one of Moses' instructions, to honor one's mother and father. We know that Jesus quoted Moses on other occasions. It thus would make no sense if Jesus was dishonoring or disrespecting - or disavowing - his parents, or family.
Rather, Jesus is making a point of his relationship with his mother and his brothers to convey two important lessons to his students:
Are we these physical bodies?The first lesson of Jesus' statement is that we are not these physical bodies:
We are each spiritual beings, wearing temporary physical bodies. Therefore, while we might love and respect the mother of this body, that body that gave birth to our body is being driven by a spirit-person who is also not their physical body.
Similarly, our brothers and sisters of this body are also spiritual beings temporarily residing in their physical bodies, which happen to have been born from the same physical body ours was born from.
So who are we, the spirit-person within this body, related to? Who is our real mother, father, brothers and sisters?
Is God our permanent parent?According to Jesus' teachings, the Supreme Being is our real Father. He is also our Best Friend and our constant Companion.
Furthermore, there is a lost loving relationship that exists between ourselves and the Supreme Being. This loving relationship is the intimate relationship that we are each seeking as we look for the perfect mate during our lifetimes in these bodies. We seek the perfect mate - our "soul mate" - because we have a soul mate that we have lost touch with.
This is why everyone instinctively looks for our soul mate. Because instinctively we know we have one. This is why people will say stuff like, "I know [he or she] is out there somewhere." We know this because deep inside - deep within our spiritual consciousness - which is currently covered up by our physical consciousness - we know we have a relationship with the real perfect person: The Supreme Being.
Jesus confirms this loving relationship as he explains that his true mothers and brothers are those who are executing their spiritual relationship with the Supreme Being - as he pointed to his disciples, saying:
"Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.”Those of us who rebel against their innate relationship with the Supreme Being - as most on this planet have done - have disinherited ourselves from this loving family that Jesus is speaking of.
Where is our real family?We are each constantly wanting to be part of a family. When we are young we cling to our family, and when we get older we want to have our own family. This desire for a family is innate within us because each of us already has a permanent family.
This is our spiritual family - headed up by the Supreme Being.
Jesus' statement, "whoever does the will of my Father" also means that each of us can become reunited with our real family at any time. At any time we can choose to resume our loving service relationship with the Supreme Being, and join our real family members in loving and serving the Supreme Being.
And what is the "will of my Father"? Jesus clearly teaches what will please the Supreme Being. The Supreme Being wants us to come back to Him. He wants us to return to His loving arms. What else would we expect from a loving Father?
" 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment." (Matt. 22:37-38)