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.