Brotherhood with Christ
Matthew 12:46-50
While he yet talked to the people, behold, his mother and his brothers stood without, desiring to speak with him.…

It must have been one of the most painful trials in the life of our Lord that none of his relatives except his mother believed in him, and that even she misunderstood him. Instead of supporting his arduous toils, they all did what they could to hinder him. No doubt their motives were kind; they thought he was wearing himself out with too much work; they saw his danger with the authorities, and wished to shield him; they seem to have thought he was beside himself with fanaticism, and needing kindly oversight and restraint. To us this looks almost impossible. But they who are nearest to inspiration are often the most perplexed by it. In 'Adam Bede' Mrs. Poyser can only account for Dinah Morris's preaching enthusiasm by supposing that her niece has "a maggot' in her brain. To Jesus the misapprehension of his family must have been most acutely painful because he loved sympathy. In his distress, however, he was not embittered; but his large heart turned to a greater kinship.


1. It is not merely natural, but spiritual. Jesus did not deny the claims of nature. In the agony of death he thought of his mother, and committed her to the charge of the beloved disciple. But it was the pain of his life that the happy family union which is the source of earth's deepest joy was broken by the unique destiny he was following. Christ has kinship with men in their higher natures.

2. It is determined, not by opinions, but by conduct. They are not Christ's brethren who understand most; but the deeds of life determine relationship with Christ. It is possible to be very orthodox and yet not be owned by Christ; the poor heretic, hounded to death by pious persecutors, may be owned as our Lord's brother - not because he is a heretic, as some people seem to think, but because in spite of his heresy his conduct pleases Christ.

3. It is not conditioned by religious observances, but by the doing of God's will The condition is wide, and it may embrace many sects and creeds. Yet in another sense it is narrow. While Christ is good to all, he only owns brotherhood with those who are obedient to God. Obedience is the tie of kinship. It marks men as of the family of God, of which Jesus is the elder Brother, the type of obedience, and its inspiring influence.


1. It is a joy to Christ. The sympathy he could not find among his own kindred he met in the larger family of God's obedient sons and daughters. Thus it is possible to contribute to the joy of Christ. This cannot but be a privilege to those who are his true brethren.

2. It secures his full sympathy. He is not like those selfish sufferers who demand unlimited sympathy with their own woes, but offer no sympathy with others in return. His life is utterly unselfish, a perpetual expenditure of himself for his brethren.

3. It brings the confidence of family union. One of the happiest features of home-life is the complete mutual confidence of the members of the family. This Christ permits between himself and his people. He does not stand off from them in kingly isolation. "He is not ashamed to call them brethren" (Hebrews 2:11).

4. It secures a lasting heritage. Christ's brethren are his fellow-heirs. Kings' families may come to sad endings. It is better to be a Christian than a Stuart or a Bourbon. - W.F.A.

Parallel Verses
KJV: While he yet talked to the people, behold, his mother and his brethren stood without, desiring to speak with him.

WEB: While he was yet speaking to the multitudes, behold, his mother and his brothers stood outside, seeking to speak to him.

A Wealth of Relationship
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