Michael J. Fox is quoted as saying, “Family is not an important thing. It’s everything.” Mr. Fox is not alone, this is a common refrain among many.
Family is important. Some disregard, ignore, or abuse their family. Many give themselves over to their work, their hobbies, or their friends at the expense of their children or spouse. Many of the most successful people have chosen business over family.
It is admirable when one honors one’s family. The Bible speaks of our responsibility to our family. Husbands are to love their wives “as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her” (Ephesians 5:25). Fathers are to bring up their children in the “discipline and instruction of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4). Children are to honor their father and mother (Ephesians 6:1-3). Husbands are to dispense not only discipline and instruction but also provide financially for their family (1 Timothy 5:8).
Blood is and should be thicker than water. But the blood of Jesus is thicker than that of physical family. The bonds of Christ should be stronger than the bonds of birth and marriage.
In the midst of Jesus’ ministry, his family came to visit. When told of his mother and brothers’ desire to speak with him, Jesus responded “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” (Matthew 12:48). Then he stretched his hand out to his disciples and 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 12:49-50).
While we share important characteristics with our physical family, the blood of Jesus redeemed us from sin.
“In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace” (Ephesians 1:7).
While we are joined tightly to our physical family, the blood of Jesus justifies us before the Father.
“Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God” (Romans 5:9).
Many Jews who wished to follow Jesus were given a choice: family or Jesus. Some who decided to follow Jesus were cut off from the synagogue, the community, and their own family. Jesus advised his hearers of the importance of this decision. “Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me” (Matthew 10:37).
How we treat our family is important in our walk with God. We must love and cherish our family. But the blood of Jesus brings us into a much more important family.
“Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood” (Acts 20:28).
This church of God consists of those who by grace through faith have become children of God (Galatians 3:26, 27; 1 John 3:2). In this way we are all brothers and sisters (1 Timothy 5:1, 2).
While some may neglect their flesh and blood, and still others cling too closely, the Christian needs to see the blood of Jesus as the key binding agent for relationships. Let us strive to become like the one who died for us. Let us follow him above all others.
Family is important, but isn’t everything. Jesus is.