The Necessary Condition of Right Personal Love
Matthew 12:46-50
While he yet talked to the people, behold, his mother and his brothers stood without, desiring to speak with him.…

In comparing the accounts as quoted above, one thing first arrests our attention, that while no one of them speaks of more than "mother and brethren" seeking for Jesus, every one of them finds a place in the tenderness of Christ's reply for the introduction of the word "sister." St. Luke's, the shortest account, nevertheless explains precisely how "the press" of people was what prevented the "mother and brethren" of Jesus reaching him; while the "certain" of the people of St. Luke, and the "one" of St. Matthew, who informed Jesus of the fact, are so very naturally replaced by the "multitude in St. Mark. How these took up the message, and tried to pass it on, pictures itself readily to our familiar knowledge of the ready tongue of a multitude." No one of the evangelists' accounts tell us, however, of what might have been the object of the desire on the part of the mother and brethren of Jesus to "see" or to "speak with" him. It may have been to bring him refreshment for the body; it may have been to warn him of apprehended danger; it may have been to share with nearer position the manifested power and glory and manifestation of the Mighty One whom they had known, as they thought, so well. The significance of the silence on the point may lead us, not uncharitably, to the theory that it was for some reason personal rather to them than to him. The incident described in the passage before us, and which so naturally has arrested our attention and our deep sympathetic feelings so often -

I. SUGGESTS THE DIFFERENCE WHICH CHRIST HIMSELF MARKED BETWEEN PERSONAL LOVE TO HIM AND A MERE LOVE TO HIS PERSON. It is not by this to be understood for a moment that his mother's love to him was a mere love to his Person. But broad and deep is the line which Jesus does himself draw, as though for the help of all whomsoever who should be, between these two things. There is a vast gulf of separation between our natural and our saintly desires. How hard it might seem sometimes to allow for this separating gulf, however! When our agonized meditative thought has led us betimes to say to our inmost self what we would give for a moment's vision of that Holy One in the garb of his human flesh alone; to see that form, to hear that voice, to know what his eye literally looked, to watch the expression of his countenance, to ask him one question personally, to walk across the field by his adorable side, to plant one's step literally in the footprint of his own; and when one has been impelled to think how many millions for that one aged Simeon would now be ready, for such a boon granted, to say, "Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace," and welcomely to close the eyes on earth, and all it ever could have else to show, the words of Jesus here

(1) warn us against a snare, manifest though it may be held to be; and

(2) point us the better, the more excellent way, to learn "to hear and to do the will of God " - of "my Father which is in heaven." Such desires on our part may even take rank among unearthly desires, among saintly desires even; but they are not the saintly desire for a moment to stand in comparison of what Christ here places before us. Though we be not competent to say certainly now that it was any such mere superficial motive on the part of mother and brethren to see Jesus, and to share some reflected glory from his Person, it is competent to us to say that Christ seized the opportunity, at whatever other risk, to say that all personal relationship dwindles in the presence of that living, intrinsic, eternally abiding relationship that constitutes one the mother, another the sister, and millions the brethren of the now invisible One, the Lord Jesus Christ.

II. SUGGESTS THE POSSIBILITY OF REALIZING A CERTAIN FULNESS AND A CERTAIN TENDERNESS IN SUCH RELATIONSHIPS AS CHRIST IS WILLING TO SUSTAIN TOWARD US, AND STATES FORCIBLY THE CONDITIONS NECESSARY THERETO. What is most sacred, what is most tender, what is absolutely most real of earthly and human relationship, is employed to set forth the fulness, the tenderness, the absolute sympathy, that bear witness of not a mere acquaintance with Christ, but of such an acquaintance as is all-pervading, knows no discord, is inspired by no jarring want of harmony, and already bears the stamp of eternity on it, almost fit already to merge into spiritual shape. What reproach the thought gives to all half-heartedness, to all mere interested profession of Christian faith and hope and love! How it repudiates the thought of a mere question of gain to be gotten from Christ, and tramples with just scorn and indignation upon the blasphemy in practice of patronizing Christ! Jesus would have us understand and believe how much it draws his heart towards any one who begins to "hear," as he never heard before, "the Word of God, and to do his Father's will." For want of this the family was once broken up, and only by the restoring of this can its unity be regained. Now, the love which Christ has toward us as sinners, whom he came to seek and to save, when he looked down on us as sinners, and far from "God's Word," is one love. It is the love of commiseration, of God-like compassion, of heavenly mercy. But the love which he condescends to liken to that of mother, sister, brother, and to that to be shown to these, is something else. It is the oneness, the heartfelt sympathy, the fellowship and communion of delight, which they know, yet can never describe, who, happy themselves, know the bliss of resting in the unruffled security and harmony of the family in which they were born, which surrounded them with their first consciousness of life, and in which they have as yet ever lived without a fear, without a want. Jesus Christ wished loudly to declare it in the press, the motley group, the harassed multitude that were around him, that this rule, "to hear the Word of God and do it," was not only the rectifying of everything that could be wrong in the family of man, but also the perfecting of joy in every one who should observe to do it. A crown will make a king or queen; ancestry and accident will make princes and princesses; wealth will make position, however ticklish and uncertain; knowledge and learning will make that wisdom and power which are at any rate somewhat less uncertain; but hearing the Word of God and doing it will make what is immeasurably superior to all these. It will fill up the family of God on earth, will deepen and diffuse pure joy here, and will help fill all heaven above with joy and praise. - B.

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.

The Kingdom's Similitude
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