We begin here with a series on discipleship and witness.
The Will of the Father
At the end of Matthew 12, we are told that Jesus’ mother and brothers wish to speak with Him. He responds in a striking, unsettling way. “‘Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?’ And stretching out his hand toward the disciples, he said, ‘Here are my mother and my brothers! For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.'” (Matthew 12: 48b-50 ESV) Those then who follow Christ are His true family. Though we may recoil at Jesus’ response to His mother and brothers, we must realize that the eschatological family of Christ is to have a high priority in our lives, even greater than our blood families. The family of Christ, the Church, stands just below Christ Himself as the highest priority in the Christian life. Christ’s disciples are those who do the will of His Father in heaven, reflected in His teachings.
What does Jesus mean when He speaks of the will of the Father? In The Sermon on the Mount where Jesus teaches the Lord’s Prayer, He prays to the Father ‘thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” In Jesus’ teachings found in this context (Matthew 5-7), we are given a clear idea of what it means to do His will. Some examples are:
- Do not be angry with a brother or sister (Brother and sister refer to Christians in this context).
- Don’t be lustful in your heart toward any woman.
- Do not retaliate against another.
- Love your enemies
- Pray, fast, give to the needy in secret without public display.
- Don’t lay up treasures on earth, but in heaven.
- Don’t be anxious and put the kingdom of heaven first.
- “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them.” (Matthew 12: 12 ESV)
Next time we will discuss what a disciple is like according to the Beatitudes in The Sermon on the Mount.
Michael G. Tavella
Baptism of Our Lord
January 7, 2024