What Is the Connection?
“And the multitude sat about him, and they said unto him, Behold, thy mother and thy brethren without seek for thee. And he answered them, saying, Who is my mother, or my brethren? And he looked about on them which sat about him, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren! For whosoever shall do the will of God, the same is my brother, and my sister, and mother.” --Mark 3:32-35
The value of human connections to gain spiritual blessings was settled at the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. They are of no value as far as eternal life is concerned. Israel had many advantages that way, for unto them were committed the oracles of God (Rom. 3). It is far better to come from a good family than from a bad one, unless confidence and pride in family connections keep us from Jesus Christ. Paul knew the danger, and therefore counted it all as “dung” that he might win Christ (Gal. 3:7-9). Having Abraham as father did not gain righteousness for Israel, because they had no faith (Romans 10).
The reason is very clear. Human relationships are because of our common ancestry. We are all descended from Adam and Eve, and are therefore under the curse. We are born in sin and without ability to please God. This is what we inherit from our parents. The benefits of reputation, wealth, education, and honor are very small considered in the light of the sin and misery of our human condition. As children of Adam we are under the curse and the wrath of God abides on us, according to Scripture.
Our humanity cannot deliver us from the curse. We are helpless, except for the power of Christ in His death and resurrection. Suffering in our place, He was put to death in the flesh, ending and pretensions of human self-help and advancement, but was raised in the Spirit. Newness of life, therefore, is not by the works of the flesh, but by the power of the Spirit through the gospel.
“Ye must be born again.” An inward change must take place by the power of the Spirit. As wonderful as it was to be the human mother of Christ, or the human brother of Christ, how much greater it is to assent to His gospel, to yield obedience and love to Him, to be a member of the family of God through faith in His blood!
In other words, the only relationship to Jesus Christ that brings eternal life is a spiritual one of faith. Jesus Christ was a true human being. He was born of the Virgin Mary, of the house and lineage of David, an Israelite, a member of Adam’s family. He took this to the cross, and suffered there the death and punishment for sin that every son of Adam deserves. Human ties--even though they be blood relationships to Jesus Christ cannot profit to the kingdom of God.
This does not mean that Christ had no regard for His mother and His brother. On the contrary, He fulfilled all His obligations to them, committing His mother to the care of John even when He was on the cross. He does not abrogate the commandment for us to honor our parents. But that which is born of the flesh is flesh, and only that which is born of the Spirit can enter into the kingdom of God, as Jesus told Nicodemus (John 3).