While he was still speaking to the people, behold, his mother and his brothers stood outside, asking to speak to him. But he replied to the man who told him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” And stretching out his hand toward 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 NIV
Jesus had been teaching the people when his human family came to see him. Jesus’ response at first glance seems dismissive of his mother and siblings, but I don’t think it was intended that way. Rather, Jesus is using the occasion to illustrate a greater truth. A human family is good and is important. But a relationship with Jesus is even more significant. We can be brothers and sisters of Jesus, not physically, but spiritually. A relationship that will endure forever, untouched by death.
How does one come to be a brother or sister of Jesus? By doing the will of the Father. This mirrors Jesus’ words in Matt. 7:21, where he says that only those who do the will of the Father will enter heaven. What is the will of the Father? First, that we come to him (2 Pet. 3:9) and then walk with Jesus as his disciples. Doing the will of the Father is not legalistic obedience to a set of rules or laws. Rather it is living in relationship with Jesus, like the disciples Jesus points to and identifies as his brothers. That we willingly put into practice what he teaches us (Matt. 7:24).