Mark 3:31 Then his mother and his brothers came; and standing outside, they sent to him and called him. 32 A crowd was sitting around him; and they said to him, “Your mother and your brothers and sisters are outside, asking for you.” 33 And he replied, “Who are my mother and my brothers?” 34 And looking at those who sat around him, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! 35 Whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.”
The earthly kingdom came face to face with the kingdom of God in this moment. Jesus’ earthly mother and siblings came calling for him. The Old Testament law would have required Jesus to honor his father and mother — and to stop what he was doing and leave with his family. This moment intentionally allows us the opportunity to witness the kingdom of God being revealed and becoming the fulfillment of the Old Testament law. The priorities of God’s kingdom are different than those of the world and this is hard for the people to see or to understand. The old law is fulfilled in the life of the new kingdom where adoption into God’s family becomes possible. The call from the earthly family is replaced with the kingdom family. Jesus is not disobedient to the law, it’s just interpreted differently in light of salvation. And when it appears that this story is a clash of kingdoms, it is actually becomes the segue from the old to the new.
This story should in no way be interpreted to mean that Jesus did not love or care for his mother — or that Christians ought not to care for their earthly families. But it does reveal something regarding the kingdom — that even his own mother had to enter the new kingdom. Her physical proximity to him would not have brought about her salvation — she had to believe! She herself moved from the old kingdom into the new and it may have been this clash of the kingdoms which helped her and the family to realize that there was more to salvation than simply being related to the Savior! The clash of the kingdoms required an active response which led to adoption into the heavenly family and life within the kingdom of God in the here and now.
We may have our own moments when kingdoms clash. What do we do with family members who demand something of a believer which comes into conflict with the kingdom of God? I’m afraid this happens from time to time in marriage relationships. It’s that struggle when someone pulls out the scripture about wives submitting to their husbands and we fail to realize that this is written in the context of mutual submission of believers to one another. That’s a scripture related to life in the kingdom of God, not a scripture related to kingdoms clashing. The priority of a believer is to live in the new kingdom and sometimes that will be a problem for those refusing to be a part of God’s kingdom. But as followers of Jesus Christ, we have no choice and we follow his example, living in the already of the kingdom of God.
Kingdoms may clash on the job, in school, or even when we are just hanging out with our friends. We must consider how we will respond. Either we will give into the kingdom of this world, or we will live into the new kingdom. When we are living into the new kingdom we won’t respond in the same way that everyone else responds, but we will live as faithful members of God’s family. That is his desire for you and for me — when kingdoms clash.
Lord, please help me to live for you faithfully when the kingdoms clash. Amen.
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