The staff of Crossways International meets together three times each week for Bible Study and prayer. Each of us takes a turn to lead in prayer. When I do so, I make regular reference to us being Jesus’ brothers and sisters. Recently, a staff member shared with me that he does not hear much about these terms in his church life. Sad to say, all too often worshipers look to the pastor as their salaried church leader and substitute worker and on themselves as church members. In relation to this issue, we would do well to ponder Jesus’ words in Mark 3:31–35.

The fact that we are Jesus’ brothers and sisters has profound implications. Jesus calls us to walk in His presence throughout life, and to reflect His servant lifestyle in all that we think, say, and do. In His parable of the Rich Fool (Luke 12:13–21), Brother Jesus teaches us that we own nothing. We do not own the ground on which we walk or the crops that the land produces, nor do we own the body in which we live. Everything is on loan from God, the Maker and Owner of all creation. We mortals merely manage what belongs to God.

Christian communities (better yet, Jesus’ family members) would do well to ponder Acts 2:43–47 and 4:32–37. These two passages describe how the first Christians related to each other. They lived together in community and did not claim ownership of anything. They sold “their” possessions and goods and distributed the proceeds to all, as any had need. There was no needy person among them. They broke bread at home and ate their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having the goodwill of all the people.

These days, we hear more and more about young adults becoming disenchanted with life in a traditional congregation, and they are devising ways to establish caring, sharing, serving fellowship groups. This is food for thought for older church “members.” Some “traditional” Christians want the focus to be on confessing that we are sinners, that Jesus died for our sins, and that we shall go to heaven after we die. True enough, but there is so much more to life in God’s famil

 

The first two parishes that I served were in New Zealand. Soon after I began my ministry in that Land of the Long White Cloud, I attended a gathering of clergy and fellow-believers to watch a presentation by the New Zealand Presbyterian Church which focused on the implications of being a member of Jesus’ family. One statement that I heard has remained with me: “While one person on Planet Earth is lacking proper food, water, and healthcare, we should not sleep in peace.” Food for thought!

Sometimes when I share the message and implications of the two Acts passages referred to above, some church leaders respond that they would find it difficult to proclaim such insights to their people. The message would upset them. Yes, Jesus’ teaching upset many religious leaders and people. But the Father gave His Son a “Yes!” vote when He raised Him from the dead. If God the Father voted “Yes!” in relation to His Son’s message and ministry, should not we do the same?