Rethinking Family (a mini Good Friday mediation)

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For Good Friday, my church is having different people read Jesus’ final seven sayings and share a short reflection of what they think the passage means. I was chosen to do the third. Here’s my contemplation:

“When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Woman, here is your son.”
-John 19:26 (CEB)

Family. In Jesus’ third words from the cross, he radically changes the definition of family. Family has always been viewed as the most important relationship one will ever have. In Jesus’ society, your identity and inheritance came from how well-known your family was. Fast forward to 21st century American society, where we are told to strive towards “the American dream,” family can be a be idolized and becomes a source of status and pride. I find that this is true because I come from a dysfunctional family and as my wife and I wait for the birth of our daughter in a couple of months we have begun to dream. Dream about what our lives will be like as parents and the added responsibilities and activities that come with raising a child. I am also starting to feel the inward pressure of being the father I never experienced. By only using a few words, Jesus is challenging all of us to rethink who we view as our family. It is a challenge for all of us, those from broken families and good ones too. He is destroying our idols and definition of family and showing us who they truly are. See, its not just those of us who share the same last name, but because of what Jesus would accomplish for us, we would become members of God’s family as the adopted sons and daughters of God. No matter what denomination or background, all of those who have placed their trust in Jesus are brought into this family. We can have an immediate relationship with a sister in Cambodia or a brother in Carson City because of what Jesus has done. So, as we hear his words to us today, let us remember that his family is not just filled with people who look and act like us, but where flesh and blood gave us a last name that can die within generations, his flesh and blood gave us a new family that will never pass away.

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