Matthew 12:46-50, Mark 3:31-35, Luke 8:19-21 – “While Yeshua was still speaking to the crowds, His mother and brothers came to Him, and they were unable to get to Him because of the crowd. And it was reported to Him, ‘Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside, wishing to see You.’ But He answered and said to them, ‘Who is My mother and who are My brothers? My mother and My brothers are these who hear the word of God and do it.'”
How many times has a family member, perhaps even a pastor, said to you, “I’m busy serving the Lord; you’ll just have to wait until I’m finished before I can help you?” Is this what the above scriptures teach? Not at all. Quite the opposite, in fact.
Yeshua At the Temple (Luke 2:41-51)
Joseph, Mary, and Yeshua would attend the Feast of Pesach (Passover) each year in Jerusalem. On one occasion, when Yeshua was twelve years old, he stayed behind talking to the teachers [didaskalos διδάσκαλος G1320] when his parents left to return home. Upon noticing he was missing, his parents returned to find him. Mary lets him know how anxious she has been, and he replies, “Why is it that you were looking for Me? Did you not know that I had to be in My Father’s house?” (Luke 2:41-50).
In other words, many would try to convince you that Yeshua replies, ‘I’m busy serving the Lord.’ But does he then say, ‘You’ll just have to wait until I’m finished before I can help you?’ Not at all. Luke 2:51 informs us that “He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and He continued in subjection to them.” When Mary [perhaps with hands on her hips and the best “Tool-time look” she can muster] informs Yeshua that he is to leave the Temple and return home to Nazareth with her and Joseph, Yeshua doesn’t turn back to his mother and remind her that ‘he’s busy.’ Just the opposite: Yeshua continues to serve his father, Yahweh, by serving the needs of his earthly family first.
Yeshua at the Wedding (John 2:1-11)
Yeshua and His disciples have been invited to a wedding, most likely the wedding of a close family member or friend, as His mother, Mary, appears to be intimately concerned with the serving of the food and wine. At some point in the celebration, the wine was running out, which would have been a great embarrassment to the wedding party hosts. So, Mary asks Yeshua to provide some more, and he replies, “Dear woman, that’s not our problem. My time has not yet come.”
In other words, many would try to convince you that Yeshua replies, ‘I’m busy serving the Lord – I don’t have time for this; you’ll just have to wait until I’m finished before I can help you.‘ But is Yeshua too busy? Not at all. John 2:7-8 informs us that “Yeshua told the servants, ‘Fill the jars with water.’ When the jars had been filled, he said, ‘Now dip some out, and take it to the master of ceremonies.'” Once again, Yeshua continues to serve Yahweh by serving the needs of his earthly family and others first.
Yeshua at the Cross (John19:25-27)
This time we find Yeshua having been beaten, spat on, scourged, and nailed to a tree (cross). This is his most important service to Yahweh and also to all humanity, so one might think that nothing could interrupt this service. But is that true? Not at all!
The disciple John tells us that looking down from the cross, Yeshua sees his mother and himself standing nearby, and he says, “Dear woman, here is your son” and to John, “Here is your mother.” Now some would try to convince you that Yeshua would be thinking, ‘I’m busy serving the Lord – I’ll be back in three days, so I’ll deal with it then.’ But were these Yeshua’s thoughts? Not at all. Even from the cross, Yeshua continues to serve Yahweh by serving the needs of his earthly family first.
Yeshua in Other Places
Upon entering Peter’s home to further teach and instruct his disciples, Yeshua learns that Peter’s mother is sick in bed with a fever. He immediately interrupts his “time table” to heal her (Matthew 8:14-15, Mark 1:30-31, Luke 4:38-39).
Twice, while praying that the cup of wrath might be removed, that another method might be found for him to complete his service to Yahweh and all humanity, Yeshua returns to his sleeping disciples in Gethsemane to see if they are awake, praying, and okay. Again, an interruption to his “time table.” (Matthew 26:39-44, Mark 14:32-41)
Yeshua and Family (Matthew 12:46-50, Mark 3:31-35, Luke 8:19-21)
This time we find Yeshua speaking to a crowd, perhaps inside a home. While doing so, his mother and brothers arrive and seek to speak to him. He is informed that they are there, and he replies, “Who are My mother and My brothers? My mother and My brothers are these who hear the word of God and do it.”
In other words, many would try to convince you that Yeshua replies, ‘I’m busy serving the Lord – I don’t have time for my family; let them wait until I’m done teaching.’ But is he pushing his mother and brothers aside in favor of those to whom he is speaking?
Not at all. Just the opposite. Yeshua turns to those he is speaking and invites them to become part of his family – not just his immediate earthly family of Mary, Joseph, and his earthly siblings, but part of the family of God. He proclaims that everyone who accepts him as Lord and Savior and does the will of his heavenly father becomes his mother, his brothers, his sisters.
Is Yahweh and service to Him Yeshua’s first priority?
Absolutely. Does Yeshua love Yahweh more than any other? Absolutely. However, Yeshua never let His primary service to Yahweh, His heavenly Father, interfere with His servicing the needs of His earthly family or others. Any family member, any friend, any pastor, in short, anyone that uses the excuse, ‘I’m busy serving the Lord. You’ll just have to wait until I’m finished before I can help you,‘ has completely misinterpreted scripture and has no understanding of what serving Yahweh, Yeshua, and the Ruach Ha’Kodesh [Holy Spirit] really encompasses.
Serving others before serving oneself is serving them first, is loving them with all your heart, soul, and strength. The inability to interrupt one’s own time table to meet the needs of others while claiming to serve the Lord is serving oneself first and is prideful, arrogant, self-absorbed behavior that has no place in a true follower of Yeshua.
The message that all who serve the Lord are part and parcel of Yahweh’s family has been proclaimed from the beginning of time. The Jews were to include and invite the Gentiles into Yahweh’s family. They missed the point. Anyone who claims Yeshua is pushing his mother and brothers aside has also missed the point that Yeshua is fulfilling the command to the Jews to include and invite the non-believing Jews and Gentiles into Yahweh’s family. He is not limiting who his family is, he is not ignoring who his family is, and he is not ignoring his “family’s” needs. He is including and inviting all who hear his words to be part of Yahweh’s extended family.