Lessons in life from unbelieving family members
In order to present the lessons from unbelieving family members, the introduction will involve presenting the background leading to the critical moment of change in the family of Jesus.
We know from the events recorded in the Gospel of Luke chapter 2, verses 41 to 52 that Joseph and Mary followed the requirements of God by presenting their offerings yearly to God at the Temple in Jerusalem. We are given the record of Jesus going with them when He was twelve years old. We can assume that Jesus continued going with them year by year and also that He would journey on His own for special occasions. Jesus had been living in the town of Nazareth under submission to the authority of His parents, Joseph and Mary. Sometime after Jesus was twelve years old and before He was thirty, Joseph died leaving Mary to care for the children. Jesus, the oldest, took over the work of Joseph’s carpenter shop –
Mark 6:3 Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses, and of Juda, and Simon? and are not his sisters here with us? And they were offended at him.
At the age of thirty, He traveled to the Jordan River near unto the wilderness area of Israel and met with His cousin John, also called John the Baptist, and was baptized by him. You can read the account of this in Matthew 3:13-15 and also the account given by John in chapter 1, verses 19 through 51.
Jesus’ return from this visit was different than the previous trips. Men were traveling with Him this time. Yes, they were from cities of the area and could have been simply traveling from the meetings with John back to their homes in the north, but these were more than just travelling companions. They were followers of Jesus and Mary would have noticed that this time when Jesus returned, things were different.
Read the account of the first miracle and the events that closely followed.
The text is John 2:1-11 and Luke 4:16-29 reveal the beginning of His ministry –
I. A new relationship in His family.
Jesus had been a dutiful son, obedient to His parents in all things –
Luke 2:51 And he went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject unto them: but his mother kept all these sayings in her heart.
Mary would naturally be accustomed to His obedience and when she discovered the groom had not supplied enough wine for the guest, she asked Jesus to solve the problem at this wedding feast. She learned that day that a change had taken place –
not in His person for He was God the Son, born of a woman –
Luke 2:11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
But in their relationship. Mary submitted her will to His will –
John 2:5 His mother saith unto the servants, Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it.
We see at this time that –
II. A new ministry was embarked upon.
This ministry of Jesus at the wedding was of a careful and specific nature, informing His family, disciples, and a few servants that the beginning of the public ministry of the Promised Messiah was near. Notice the undeniable power of God in this miracle – it is a miracle of creation. John 2:6-10
This wine was produced instantly at the Word of Jesus Christ.
The water would never have turned into wine without God’s power creating it –
What they perceived was the result of time and natural process was actually the immediate creation of God!
Through this we see at this time –
III. A new understanding. The miracle had a purpose –
John 2:11 This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth his glory; and his disciples believed on him.
The creating power of God was demonstrated by Jesus to His disciples. Man cannot create, he can only manipulate. The glory of God was revealed through His power.
Notice there were no objections as to this miracle, or any other done by Him, as being genuine. The power of God was recognized and testified of, even by those who rejected Him. Refer to –
John 3:1-2 There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.
IV. A new rejection.
Jesus was working according to His plan and this was not His chosen time to make a public proclamation of His ministry. Why do you think Mary made this request of Jesus? Do you think that she may have thought this would be a good opportunity to prove Himself as the Messiah. Why would this enter into her mind? He solved the problem by working a miracle, but the Scripture testifies that this was the first miracle He worked. Would Mary have expected Jesus to supply their lack of wine through a supernatural act? In His thirty years He had never worked a miracle, why would she expect Him to do so now? God did not reveal Mary’s reasoning with us and so, we are left to wonder what her motive was. Could it be that Jesus had simply proved Himself to be one to be relied upon to help others solve their problems? We know from the account given by Luke that Jesus was well respected in the community
Luke 4:16-17 And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read. And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written,
It was not until this Sabbath day in the synagogue in Nazareth that those people who knew Him best turned against Him. Upon Jesus’ claim that He was the one prophesied to come by Isaiah, His family and His community turned against Him –
Luke 4:18-21 The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord. And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him. And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.
They questioned His claim –
Luke 4:22 And all bare him witness, and wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth. And they said, Is not this Joseph’s son?
They became enraged and attacked this man who had lived and worked among them for many years –
Luke 4:28-29 And all they in the synagogue, when they heard these things, were filled with wrath, And rose up, and thrust him out of the city, and led him unto the brow of the hill whereon their city was built, that they might cast him down headlong.
He was their neighbor, the problem solver, the well respected teacher of the Scriptures. Now He was their enemy and an embarrassment to His family. Jesus’ mother, Mary, and His brothers and sisters still had to live in this town and they had to attend this synagogue every week. Do you think they would be angry at Him? Do you think it would be difficult to face their neighbors every day after this incident? How do you think they treated Jesus as He began His ministry – preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom to the people of Israel?
We see –
A. His family’s embarrassment –
Mark 3:20-21 And the multitude cometh together again, so that they could not so much as eat bread. And when his friends heard of it, they went out to lay hold on him: for they said, He is beside himself.
Compare with –
Mark 3:31-32 There came then his brethren and his mother, and, standing without, sent unto him, calling him. And the multitude sat about him, and they said unto him, Behold, thy mother and thy brethren without seek for thee.
Why are they standing on the outside instead of sitting with Him! They should have been sharing His gospel instead of trying to shut Him up! Notice –
B. His family’s skepticism –
John 7:3-5 His brethren therefore said unto him, Depart hence, and go into Judaea, that thy disciples also may see the works that thou doest. For there is no man that doeth any thing in secret, and he himself seeketh to be known openly. If thou do these things, shew thyself to the world. For neither did his brethren believe in him.
C. His family’s salvation.
We praise the Lord that we have the statement from Scripture that Jesus’ brothers James and Jude got saved following His resurrection. We know that Jesus spoke with James during the forty day ministry following the resurrection
1 Corinthians 15:7 After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles.
And we know His brother Jude wrote the Epistle of Jude. We have no record of the salvation of the other members of His family, but we trust that they believed and put their faith in Him as their mother Mary, and brothers James and Jude did.
As we have looked at this account and read of the tension, the anger, the mockery Jesus was subjected to by His own family, can you identify with Him? Do you remember what it was like growing up in your family before you were saved? The interaction among the family members – doing your chores, playing with your siblings, fighting with your siblings, being corrected by your parents, receiving gifts from your parents, enjoying time together through all of it because in good times and in the difficult times, you were included.
Did things change when you trusted God through His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ? Did conflict begin because of the change in your life? You still love your family, but they started treating you differently than before. They set you apart from the family, believing that you were judging them for doing the things now that you always did together. Things are different now and you can identify with Jesus and how His family treated Him.
More importantly though, Jesus identifies with us. We are encouraged tonight as we learn again the truth of God’s Word that He does understand everything that we go through in life – even knowing what it is like to have family reject you because of your trust in God through His Son, Jesus Christ. We learn from Him that we must remain faithful to Him and that through our testimony of faith, those that we love may turn to Him for salvation.
Will we decide tonight that we will be faithful unto Him that saved us? May the Lord help us.