West Point Grey United Church
Jun 09, 2024


Matthew 3:20-35

This morning I want you to see yourself with the crowds that are surrounding Jesus and His  apostles. Were the people around you talking loudly or were they quiet and listening to all that  was being said? Were the people pushing forward to be healed or were they sitting and asking  each other in hushed voices who is this man , this man we know as the son of Joseph and Mary?  Are they are saying to each other, lately he seems different from his usual self. We hear that He  is so busy healing and teaching ; speaking in parables and confronting the authorities of the law  that he cannot not find time to eat. He is acting so strangely that his family thinks he has lost  his mind. Even the Pharisees are saying he is possessed by Beelzebub. It was common belief  that a person who acted in an impractical way was possesses by an evil spirit.  

Then someone comes to Jesus and tells him. Your mother and brothers are outside looking for  you and Jesus asks the people around him “Who are my mother and my brothers?” At this time  I take a deep breath because his response makes me feel uncomfortable. I too am a mother, I  too have and son and I ask myself, Is this man Jesus not a Jew? And I wonder why He is asking  this question. I tell myself, surely Jesus would know and follow the laws of Moses given to Him  and his people. He would know the fourth commandment which states that after following our  obligations toward God we are to honour, love and obey our parents in all that is not sin. One  source states that his concern for the safety of his family made him ask the question while  another suggests it was simply a confirmation of his readiness to complete his life’s work.  

These words that Jesus said that day are written in the three Gospels of Matthew, Mark and  Luke and are all very similar. What does scripture tell us about Jesus? What might Jesus have  known about himself? He would likely have heard about his unusual birth and the claim of  Simeon who was waiting for the arrival of the ‘consolation of Israel ‘and of the reaction of  Herod and of the escape into Egypt. He would remember his life in Egypt and his return to  Nazareth once Herod had died. We have that which is written in apocryphal literature but we  have no other approved knowledge of his childhood and youth or even his early years as an  adult until we remember the concern he had caused his family when at the age of twelve years  he went missing and was found in the temple courts sitting among the teachers listening to  them and asking questions. When asked “Son, why have you treated us like this? He asked  “Why were you searching for me, didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?”  

We know he taught in the synagogue and worshipped according to the traditions of his  ancestors, following and obeying the Sabbath Laws, the Dietary Laws and worshipping One God in a society where the worship of many Gods was still in practice. He would have had many  years to ponder his faith and learn what that faith meant to him. On this day surrounded by the  lost sheep of Israel is he remembering what John the Baptist said about him on the Banks of the  Jordan River or perhaps remembering his time in the wilderness when he received the strength  he needed to resist the temptation to seize power? Did the comments of his followers and  those who have seen him heal or feed the multitudes, verify what he already believed. Up to  this time Jesus refers to himself as the Son of Man, and tells those whom he healed and who  called him the ‘Son of God’ or ‘The Holy one of God’ not to tell anyone. Now that he had chosen  his twelve apostles and the way ahead is certain is he ready to reveal more of his purpose in life.  

I believe that when Jesus asked the crowd “Who are my mother and my brothers?” He already  knew the answer to who He was. It may have been nothing more than Jesus confirming in his  mind and needing time to decide what it was that he was ready to say to the people around  him. I am reminded of those times when I blurted out a quick response only to say to myself  “Now why would I have said that”. We already know that he obeyed his parents when he was  twelve and would be a true son to Mary when on the cross he tells her, “Mary this is your son,  and to John this is your mother”. Even death would not erase from history his love and duty as  a son to Mary, but He had a far more important message to make known and conveys the  importance of the message both to the crowd around him then and to us this morning.  

“Who are my mother and my brothers” he asked. Then He looked at those seated in a circle  around him and said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does Gods will is my  brother and sister and mother.”  

 It is a message of hope. God loves imperfect people, God loves you but along with His Laws we  must follow, we need to have a relationship with Him. We are to love the Lord our God with all  our heart and mind and body. In Christ lived the Spirit of the Lord, again and again He tells and  demonstrates for us this message “the Spirit in Me speaks to the spirit in you”, and though while on earth we do not see God, we know in Christ what it means to be in a relationship with  God.  

We can only achieve the faith that is required to believe in the power of the Spirit when we  believe in Christ the Son of God who was sent so we might have eternal life.  

I end this morning’s reflection with a passage of scripture from Romans, Chapter 8: verses  14-16. “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are the sons of God. For ye received  not the spirit of bondage again unto fear; but ye received the spirit of adoption whereby we cry,  Abba Father. The Spirit himself bear the witness with our spirit, that we are children of God..  

Thanks be to God