Acts 1:14 They all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers.
Thinking about it, this verse tells us a great deal. In the first place it tells us that the women were fully accepted, which was downright scandalous in the society of the day. In the second place it tells us that Mary was given special recognition. I do think Catholics go too far in various ways in their veneration of her, but there’s no denying she was a special individual. In the third place, and most interestingly for me, there is the evidence that from this point Jesus’ siblings were believers. A few years down the line James became the leader of the Jerusalem Church, as mentioned both in Acts and in Paul’s letters, and Jude contributed a letter to the New Testament. However, they had previously found it impossible to believe that their big brother was actually the Messiah of God. (John 7:5) Paul indicates that James got a private visit, as had Peter, (1 Corinthians 15:7) but it was after Jesus had confirmed His resurrection to those who had followed Him from the beginning. Blood ties are important, but they aren’t as important as the ties of faith and obedience. We today have no genetic connection to Jesus, but the Bible tells us He calls us His brothers. (Hebrews 2:11) Jesus’ physical brothers weren’t perfect, and neither are we. We need to walk in faith and obedience, appreciative of His grace, for His glory alone.
I am blessed to have older physical siblings, so I understand that dynamic. At the same time, I have many spiritual older siblings, and I am in turn an older brother to many. Yesterday the message was on how the Church is an organism, rather than just an organization, and we sang a great deal about how we are a family. That’s not just platitudes! Our business meeting in the afternoon was indeed a family affair, even though three nationalities were represented. At this point Cathy and I are senior in terms both of physical age and length of commitment to Christ, but that’s of relatively small importance. We are one family, and we are to support and encourage and admonish one another, growing together as part of the Body of Christ, for His glory alone.
Father, thank You indeed for all You did yesterday. Thank You that the business meeting was friendly and constructive and downright enjoyable! Thank You for the large group we had in the service, courtesy of all the people from Takeo. Thank You especially for the forward-looking plans we made, and how everyone seemed to own them. I pray that we would indeed move forward on every level as You intend, bringing many into Your family for their salvation and Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!