Brother or Sister of Jesus? Outrageous.

Wouldn’t it be great if God could be family? Jesus tells us it’s not nearly as far-fetched as it might sound.

The disciples were humans just like us–just regular folks. Fishermen. A tax collector. And other no-name jobs. Nothing spectacular, it seems. No one was getting ready to be declared “Man of the Year” for Time magazine. No one was about to be elected to the Hall of Fame.

More importantly, the disciples were sinners just like us. They broke God’s laws. They deserved God’s punishment. They fell short of God’s glory.

Just like us.

Yet, Jesus points them out as his brothers. And he doesn’t stop there. Anyone who trusts in Jesus the way the disciples did, he says, and shows this by the fruit they produce in their lives, will be known as the brothers and sisters of the Son of God.

You see, it’s like Jesus said on another occasion. “What’s impossible with man is possible with God!”

In other words, not outrageous at all!

He replied to him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” Pointing to his disciples, he 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 12:48-50, NIV).

Jesus, thank you for making me your family by faith. Your Holy Spirit is responsible for drawing by dead heart to faith. Please send the Spirit every day through your word to keep my faith alive, and my family relationship with you strong and solid. Because only you could make such outrageous things happen to me.

Our reading for Saturday, January 17, is Genesis 34:1 – 35:29, Matthew 12:46 – 13:17 and Psalm 10:1-11.

Header image based on "i love you and i care for you brother", CC by 2.0

Placed in the Fire

When we go through periods of testing, when life takes us through the fire, this is a time to call on God’s name in prayer. And we can do that remembering that God uses those trials to refine our faith.

No matter how serious the trial, no matter how critical the test, God hears and answers our prayers. And Jesus walks with us in the fire. Even if the fire is very, very hot, we can be like Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego (Daniel 3:13-20) and say, “The God we serve is able to deliver us. But even if he does not, we will not serve your gods or worship your man-made idol.”

Rest assured, because of Jesus, God hears both our bold prayers and the confessions of faith that accompany them. When we hear God say, “They are my people,” our Spirit-inspired response is to confess boldly, “He is our God.”

As God says through the prophet Zechariah, “This third I will put into the fire; I will refine them like silver and test them like gold. They will call on my name and I will answer them; I will say, ‘They are my people,’ and they will say, ‘The Lord is our God’” (Zechariah 13:9, NIV).

Lord Jesus, walk with me through the tests and trials. Refine my faith in you, so that I confess you boldly as my God and my Savior.

Our Bible reading for Tuesday, December 30, is Zechariah 12:10 – 14:21, Psalm 149:6-9, Proverbs 31:1-9 and Revelation 20:1-15.