Jesus and his disciples cross the Galilee in a boat to continue preaching and teaching. While the western side of the sea was predominently Jewish, the eastern side was not. A gentile land, though not devoid of Jews. And Jesus gets to work doing the things he had done for his own people: miraculously healing, casting out demons, and announcing good news. Women are following now, disciple-like, and supporting Jesus and his cadre of students with some impressive resources. In short, Jesus is forming a movement of disciples unbounded by tradition or social norms, for the sake of God’s coming reign.
I can only imagine that Imperial pundits and religious watchdogs were as confounded and horrified as Jesus’ mother and brothers were when he neglected them: if Jesus even radically redefines his own family as “those who listen to God’s word and do it,” then no social role or relationship is immune.
I often have to go into the hospital and visit those who are as ill as the two women Jesus heals at the end of the chapter. I am thankful for those times when family and friends greet me as they anxiously keep watch over their loved ones. But far too often, a pastor might be the only visitor to that bedside. It’s in moments like those, I am thankful for the hard words of Jesus that point me toward a member of Christ’s body in need of my presence and faithfulness.
True kinship is more authentically found in the Christ-relation between one another than in the blood ties shared by families. It’s a hard word, especially for those of us fortunate to have loving and plentiful relationships. But it’s necessary for us to hear, because our true relationships are always grounded in God’s kinship to us. It is a beautiful thing to walk into a lonely and dire situation only to find that the church has been mother or brother to someone in need.
Who needs my crossing over today?
What does it look like for God’s mission to bend toward
the least, the last, the lost, and the lonely?
How can we be the “Mission Bend” family to those on the margins?
Read, reflect, and respond in the comments below!