Spiritual Relationships
Matthew 12:49, 50
And he stretched forth his hand toward his disciples, and said, Behold my mother and my brothers!…

There is difficulty in ascertaining the precise relationship to Christ borne by the persons called "his brethren." They were what we should call "blood-relations," but they may not have been either children of Joseph before his marriage to Mary, or children of Mary born after the birth of Jesus. The term is known to have often included cousins, and cousins of different degrees. The point we want is that they came, claiming Christ's special attention, because they were blood-relations.

I. FAMILY RELATIONSHIPS LIE ON A LOW PLANE. Only low comparatively. Until compared with spiritual relationships, it seems to be a very high plane. We regard as morally most valuable the influence and mutual service of family relationships. It is not possible to think of Christ as falling to recognize family ties. They altogether fail in imagination, insight, and spiritual sensitiveness who think our Lord's answer was rude, harsh, and unfeeling. Pulsford says, very suggestively, "A man's relations are as distinct as are his own flesh and spirit. His blood-relatives are often not his spirit-relatives. Blood-relations are of time and for time; kindred spirits are of eternity and for eternity. Natural life has its own associations, and Divine life its own. When the Divine life is quickened in a man he enters into a new world of relationships. And in proportion to the reality and fervour of his new life will be his attachment to his new kindred, and his power of attaching them to him."

II. SPIRITUAL RELATIONSHIPS LIE IN THE HIGHER PLANE, BUT ARE WELL REPRESENTED BY THOSE IN THE LOWER PLANE. "It was as if he had said, 'Truly she is my mother, and they are my brethren; but in the higher life, not alone the one who reared me, but every one who is like her is mine. Not alone the gentler companions of my childhood are brothers and sisters, but all who have pure and large hearts. For all true relationship springs from moral states, and not from the mechanical arrangements of society. God is the one Father, and all men become intimately related to each other in proportion as they are intimately related to God'" (Beecher). It is a happy thing indeed when one's near relatives in the flesh are also real relatives, kindred souls, one with us in the love and service of the risen and living Lord. - R.T.

Parallel Verses
KJV: And he stretched forth his hand toward his disciples, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren!

WEB: He stretched out his hand towards his disciples, and said, "Behold, my mother and my brothers!

The Seven Parables of the Kingdom
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