Whoever Does God’s Will

Then Jesus’ mother and brothers arrived. Standing outside, they sent someone in to call him. A crowd was sitting around him, and they told him, “Your mother and brothers are outside looking for you.”
“Who are my mother and my brothers?” he asked.
Then he looked at those seated in a circle around him and said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.” (Mark 3:31-35)

Please don’t misunderstand Jesus. He loved His earthly family. From the agony of the Cross, He still took care of providing for His mother’s care by asking John to step in on His behalf. But Jesus has a vertical view of family that is far more accurate than our often emotional and skewed horizontal perspective. Too many Christians have made idols of their families and put them first instead of their First Love, Jesus Christ.
Jesus was teaching in the midst of a crowd inside a house when it was made known to Him that His mother and brothers were outside looking for Him. What everyone assumed would take place, didn’t. He didn’t stop His teaching and leave those desperately in need of Him to go out and greet His earthly, physical family. Instead, He declared, to their surprise, that all of them who would do the will of God were His family.
Don’t look at this as a rejection of His mother and siblings. Instead, it is the opening up of His family to those who would follow Him in obedience. It is embracing His earthly family and adding to it many times over with the teaching that the spiritual relationship supersedes the physical. If you are a follower of Jesus, you have been brought into His family!
How restrictive is your family? Is it just those physically related to you or do you have Jesus’ vertical perspective on family? How transformed the Church would be if we lived out Jesus’ teaching on family. Our physical families become stronger as we lessen the demands on them to meet all of our needs. Our spiritual family is built up as we pour our lives into one another, praying for and encouraging each other in our common faith.

Listen: Spend a few quiet moments seeking God. Be attentive to whatever He may speak to your heart.

Reflect: How is the Spirit leading you to respond to what you have heard from God?

Confess and Repent: If there is something the Spirit convicts you of, take time to prayerfully confess it. Resolve to turn from it if it is sin, or step toward whatever He is leading you into that you have either neglected or not seen before.

Ask: Father, I thank You for bringing me into Your family through Jesus. Your Word uses both the images of new birth and adoption to strengthen the fact that I really am part of Your eternal family. Help me, Lord, to open up my view of family to match how You lived and taught. Help me to love others deeply and to cherish them as I should . . . not only the members of my physical family, but my spiritual fathers, mothers, sisters and brothers as well!


  • Examine your heart toward your physical family. Are there people you need to reconcile with or extend forgiveness to? Where can you strengthen relationships that have been weak? Is your stewardship of your family Christ-like, or have you neglected their needs in favor of work, other activity . . . even ministry? What will you do to strengthen at least one family relationship today?
  • How well do you care for your spiritual family—brothers and sisters in Christ? Are you attentive when there is a need in your small group or church family? How might you serve others in ways that will reflect the life of Jesus and make an impact for the sake of His kingdom?
  • Is there a young person or a single parent from a dysfunctional or broken relationship with whom you and/or your family could connect to encourage, strengthen or assist in some way? How is God calling you to invest your life and the life of your own family in others? Will you be obedient to His urging?

Taken from Vertical with Jesus by David and Kim Butts. © 2022 PrayerShop Publishing.