Eternal Family

A recent ad for the Mormon church features a young man who lost his mother when he was young.. in reflecting on his loss the young man makes this closing statement:
Families should be eternal.
That statement hit me funny ... what do you think of it? Here is something that Jesus says about family:
While He was still speaking to the crowds, behold, His mother and brothers were standing outside, seeking to speak to Him. Someone said to Him, "Behold, Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside seeking to speak to You." But Jesus answered the one who was telling Him and said, "Who is My mother and who are My brothers?" And stretching out His hand toward His disciples, He said, "Behold My mother and My brothers! "For whoever does the will of My Father who is in heaven, he is My brother and sister and mother." (Matthew 12:46-50)
This is quite an amazing statement from Jesus. In it He gives us a whole new perspective on family.. He seems to be saying that there are two different kinds of family. Albert Barnes has this commentary on the passage:
Dear and tender as were the ties which bound him to his mother and brethren, yet those which bound him to his disciples were more tender and sacred. How great was his love for his disciples, when it was more than even that for his mother! And what a bright illustration of his own doctrine, that we ought to forsake father, and mother and friends, and houses, and lands, to be his followers!
For myself, I find this idea to be challenging because of my love for my family and my desire to be with them forever. I guess family is a theme that permeates all of scripture.. it is a concept that needs to understood in light of what the New Testament teaches about spiritual family. Jesus speaks to the finiteness of earthly family when he answers a question about a woman that was married more than once:
"In the resurrection, therefore, whose wife of the seven will she be? For they all had married her." But Jesus answered and said to them, "You are mistaken, not understanding the Scriptures nor the power of God. "For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven. (Matthew 22:28-30)
In this he speaks of a heavenly family that is different than the earthly one. When Jesus speaks to a religious leader named Nicodemus he tells them that he needs to be born again saying:
That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. (John 3:6)
When we are born again we are born into a family just like when we are born into a natural family. The difference is that one is natural and one is spiritual ... one is temporal and one is eternal. This metaphor of family is one that I like to use when I describe the relationships that Christians have with God and with each other. I think that I like that metaphor because ones like the Body of Christ, the Army of God and others fail to capture the heart of our loving community. The Family of God paints a picture of a loving Heavenly Father and children who endeavor to love Him and each other. I guess love is something, like family, that is both spiritual and eternal.


  1. Kansas Bob,
    Great post brother.
    I want to thank you challenging me and always making me think. God bless you brother. Keep up the great work.
    I hope you have a blessed week.
    Again, great post.
    Keep it up! :-)

  2. I love thinking about how we will all be in heaven; how much more intense the love must be! No one married, just one big Body of all of us with HIM.
    I was driving one day and looked out onto a huge field of wildflowers in the bright sunshine. I got kind of weepy thinking about how I can't go into that field, in the grasses that I'm allergic to; the sunshine that I have to avoid. I suddenly felt this voice telling me, "You'll have more with Me." Then I got weepy for a different reason!
    How much better will it all be with Him?! I cannot fathom.
    Great post, brother.

  3. Gee, I think of the "Body of Christ" as being as intimately beautiful a description of our community as there can be.

    His Incarnation lived out, His Blood running through all of us, joined in His Flesh and by His Blood.

    Our family structures on earth are only faint facets of all the relationships God is in Himself, Three Persons, and with us.

    "I guess love is something, like family, that is both spiritual and eternal." You bet. Love can only come from Love Himself. It is also temporal, of this world, too. We participate in His Love when we love, in marriage, in friendship, in fellowship, in charity.

    Ain't it beautiful?

  4. Bob,
    I for one thank God that family is NOT eternal.

    Not everyone has an earthly family that's safe. I spent years in the foster care system because a court recognized this truth.

    So I personally found comfort in the verse you mention where Jesus says His mother, brother, sisters, etc are those who do the will of His Father.

    The family of Christ can be a tough place sometimes, too, but it's far less dysfunctional than my own:)

    And the family we'll spend eternity with, are those who've truly devoted their hearts to Him, which will make Heaven the best possible family reunion.

  5. Good point Kelli.. thank God that our eternal family is made up of those who've truly devoted their hearts to Him.. that is a future filled with hope.


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