Jesus > Family

Jesus > Family

greater than

When I think about my family, avoiding the feelings that come to mind is impossible. An overwhelming sense of warmth and fond memories flood to the surface for me. For others, a very different experience of disappointment and hurt feelings arises when their family is mentioned. Regardless of your feelings about your family, one thing is unavoidable—they are still your family. “Blood is thicker than water” is a phrase that is often used to describe familial bonds. The adage intends to convey how there is no more meaningful relationship or connection in this life than family. Whether you love them or not, the blood that runs through your veins is the blood that runs through theirs. 

The importance of family is seen all throughout the Bible. Just look at the beginning with the book of Genesis. The entire point of the Patriarchal Age is the importance of family and lineage. Isn’t it interesting that for every Abel and Isaac, there were also Cains and Hams? Family is not determined by success and failure or faithfulness and faithlessness. Ancestry cannot be ignored or erased because it comes down to DNA and genetics. Because of this truth, most of us feel a sense of commitment, loyalty, and indebtedness to family members. This can be a very positive thing, but it can also be an extremely negative one.

Christianity tells a very different story about family. Jesus and His Apostles taught that family is not the most important relationship. By the time of Paul’s writings in Titus 3:9 and 1 Timothy 1:3-4, they were told not to obsess over genealogies or ancestry. Paul knew being faithful to God did not require a multi-generational faith passed down over the ages as it had in times past. Jesus knew that the deep ties of family could do more to hinder the Gospel than to advance it. Look what He says in Luke 14:26, “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be my Disciple.” The Gospel of Matthew gives us a very similar quote from Jesus, “He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.” Matthew 10:37. 

There is a lot to digest with Jesus’ words here. This teaching of Jesus not only flies in the face of worldly wisdom, it seems to contradict everything we usually think about when we think of Jesus. I am supposed to HATE my own family members in order to be a disciple? What are you talking about, Jesus?! I love my mama… I love my wife… I love my son. How could I ever hate them, and why would You ask me to? Jesus knew these kinds of relationships had just as much potential to draw souls away from Him as they had to draw souls toward Him.

If someone you love is trying to draw you away from Jesus or away from obedience to the Word of God, we must choose Jesus, and we must choose obedience. From the beginning of Jesus’ ministry till the end, He taught and practiced putting God first, even above family members (Matthew 12:46-50; Luke 2:49, 9:57-62; John 7:3-8, 19:25-29). Sometimes, to be a disciple of Christ means denying and even rejecting the people I love the most in the world. Because regardless of how much I love my family, Jesus loves me more. Jesus was innocent when He died for my sins anyway. Jesus offers me an eternity in Heaven. It may be true that blood is thicker than water, but nothing is thicker, and nothing is more meaningful or powerful than the blood of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Jesus is greater than family, and it isn’t even close. 

-Ben Hogan, Minister of Evangelism

  1. List and discuss some of the ways your family does a good job of keeping Jesus > Family as a home.
  2. List and discuss some of the ways you are tempted to make Family > Jesus in your home.
  3. Read Deuteronomy 13:6-11 aloud and discuss this passage as a family. How important was putting God first under the Mosaic Law? Why does this passage go to such extremes when it comes to putting God first?
  4. Discuss what you need to do differently as a family to ensure that Jesus always remains preeminent, superior, and above all other aspects of your life as a home.

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