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Free Books » Bonar, Horatius » Light & Truth: The Gospels

Chapter 27 - Mark 3:35 - Relationship to Christ Light & Truth: The Gospels by Bonar, Horatius




Relationship To Christ.


"For whosoever shall do the will of God, the same is my brother, and my sister, and mother."-Mark 3:35.



     Relationship to Christ is the special theme of our Lord's statement here. It was started by the appearance of his earthly relations on the outside of the crowd that was listening to Him. His mother and his brothers (brothers in the common sense) stood without, and sent to call him. The crowd conveyed the message, and that message drew out the scene and the words that followed. There was presumption in the conduct of his mother and brothers; yet He does not directly rebuke this interference, though indirectly he does, asking, "Who are my mother and brothers?" As the answer to this question, he looks at the crowd close around him, not at the relatives standing without and calling; as if seeking for truer kindred among the former; as if earthly kinsmanship were quite an inferior thing. The relationships of blood were, after all, external and perishable; it is not in his own family, but among the stranger multitude, that the deeper and more enduring kinsmanship is to be sought,-a kinsmanship of which all may be partakers,-for the earthly connection could of course belong only to a few, the heavenly was capable of illimitable extension. Relationship to Jesus is presented freely to the sons of men.

     Thus our Lord disposes of the question of mere blood relationship, of which man has made so much. It is human, not divine; earthly, not heavenly. He also himself thus shakes off the claims which mere earthly ties would have made upon him. He does not deny the lower bond, but he shews that it is merged in the far higher one, as taper-light is lost in sunlight. Thus far he severs the one bond, that he may knit the other more closely and firmly; shewing himself in a far higher and diviner association than men conceived, and thereby correcting the carnal mistakes into which unbelief and self-righteousness and superstition are so prone to fall.

     Christ still speaks, and speaks to us, concerning this matter. He still stands with outstretched hand, as he has been doing throughout the ages, saying, "Who is my mother and my brothers?" He still invites the crowds of earth, in the center of whom he is standing, to partake of the blessing, and to become his kindred, his own nearest relatives,-mother, brother, sister, all in one. Mark these three things regarding this relationship (1), its importance; (2), its formation; (3), its manifestation.

     I. Its importance. Rank and relationship are among men reckoned things of moment. They involve so much, not only of privilege, but of affection and sympathy. How important are these human affinities and alliances! To be related to kings, to have royal blood in our veins, this is one of man's highest boasts. How much more to be related to the King of kings! Earthly relationships do little for us, but this will do everything; and what it does is for evermore. It is an everlasting relationship.

     (1.) It 'delivers us from what is earthly and vain. It is only by the formation of a higher kinsmanship that we can be severed from the drag of the carnal and the common. Thus we are set free from the bondage, and the routine, and the vanity of earth. It breaks the chains of hell.

     (2.) It connects with salvation and eternal life. It is the grafting into the living stem of the vine. It not only severs us from destruction, but it links us to life and joy. He whose kinsmen we become, quickens and saves us. Because He lives we shall live also.

     (3.) It connects us with honour and glory. All that our kinsman has, becomes ours; his rank, his property, his rights, his honours, his prospects. Our interests are henceforth bound up with his for evermore. He is a son, so do we become. He is an heir, so we become. He is a king, so we become. "We are made partakers with Christ," nay, "partakers of the divine nature."

     II. Its formation. This is given us in these memorable words, both positively and negatively, "As many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name, which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God" (John 1:12). This is the first point at which we commence doing the will of God. Thus we have the formation of the new tie declared to us. We become sons of God, and we do so by our acceptance of the Son of God; or we may say by our acceptance of Jesus of Nazareth, as being what God declares him to be, the word made flesh, the Son of God. "He that believeth that Jesus is the Christ, is born of God." The internal process itself is the work of the Holy Ghost, the result of a sovereign purpose, a new creation. But the visible or conscious part of it is our receiving Christ. Not prayer, nor reformation, nor repentance, but simply our reception of Christ; this is all. This introduces us at once into the new relationship; the new rank, the new position, the new glory. Reception of Jesus as the Son of God is the one link that binds us to God, and brings us into the new family, and makes us partakers of the household of faith in all their privileges and honours. Acceptance of Jesus! Dost thou know that, O man? Acceptance of Jesus according to the Father's testimony, that is all! Hast thou received Him as God manifest in flesh, the Lamb of God? If not, thou art not his kinsman. Thou art still of the kindred of earth; nay, of hell.

     III. Its manifestation. A life of service, of doing the Father's will. Our first act of faith was our first doing of that will. Our whole subsequent life is a doing of it; and in doing it we make manifest whose we are, to whose kindred we belong, of whose family or household we are members.

     Every real doing of this divine will is a proof and exhibition of our relationship; every non-doing of this will, or opposition to it, is a manifestation of our earthly kindred. Here, then, we have the test of our Christianity, a life of divine will doing.  We say that we are Christians, Christ's kinsmen; well, let us try ourselves. Are we doing the will of our Father in heaven,-his Father and our Father,-and so openly identifying ourselves with him?

     (1.) Are our hearts doing the Father's will? Is that will our will?

     (2.) Are our intellects doing the Father's will? In the present day man's intellect is utterly in revolt against God. Has ours been brought into glad subjection?

     (3.) Are our purposes doing the Father's will? Each day is full of purposes and schemes. What are these? Earthly or heavenly? Holy or unholy?

     (4.) Is our life doing the Father's will? Life, be it short or long, is made up of many parts. What is the nature of these myriad things that make up what we call our daily life?

     (5.) Is our family life doing the Father's will? And are we by the way in which we regulate it, shewing that we are kinsmen of the Lord Jesus Christ?

     (6.) Is our business life doing the Father's will? Have we taken God into partnership with us, and are all our transactions regulated by a sense of His presence, and a desire for His approval?

     Thus let us test our relationship to Christ. Not he that says, Lord, Lord, but he that doeth the will of our Father in heaven; he is the kinsman of the Son of God; he it is to whom Jesus points and says, "the same is my brother, and sister, and mother."