"This is the all-out wonder of what Jesus does for you and me. He makes a place for us in the family of God..."
—From Ch. 16 ("Intervention"), Jesus Journey
Each day of Jesus Journey feels like it is building on the last. Like watching an artist drawing a portrait, the humanity of Jesus and who he is becomes clearer and sharper with each day that passes...
Today's reading is all about family, and Jesus' interaction with his own family:
"Family is one of God's greatest gifts, which is why it can wound us so deeply. For better or for worse, family has the incredible capacity to hurt, to heal, to affirm, to abuse, to forgive, to inflict, to restore, to expose, to confuse, to clarify, to comfort, to frustrate, to lose, to love—and sometimes all in one day.
Jesus understands that. He really does. Because Jesus has family too. And it's complicated." (pg. 107)
My family is complex too. And figuring out my place in both my own family, and in the wider family of God has taken a long time.
I'm a New Zealander, who spent many of my growing-up years overseas. I'd traveled the amount of most people's "gap-year'" before I turned eleven.
My parent's divorced when I was five, and I've almost always lived a long ways away from my Dad. (In that sense, I can identify with Jesus who may well have been brought up by a single Mum for at least some of his life—check out chapter four, "Jesus and Joseph", for more on that point). Because my parents were divorced, I assumed the man-of-the-house role from as far back as I can remember, and I had a huge fear of failure.
It was only as I spent time with people who had spent time with Jesus—people who had found their place in his family—that I started to realise my identity was not centered in all of those things (though they have all shaped who I am), but that first and foremost I am God's son.
In affirming my identity as God's son, Jesus took situations and fears that the enemy meant for evil, and turned them for good.
Keeping in mind the complexity of Jesus' family helps us know that what was true for him, is true for me and for you: "our genetics—'good' or 'bad' do not ultimately determine us." Instead, as Jesus proclaimed, "Anyone who does God's will is my brother! And my sister! And my mother!" (Mark 3:35)
My very real prayer for you as you read this, is the prayer that Trent asks us to pray at the end of this chapter: "That you will know how much God loves you, and that regardless of your family background, challenges, and genetics, your true identify will be founded in Jesus."
Because: "He makes a place for us in the family of God."
Today's guest post is by Quintin Lake: Quintin and his wife Angela work with companies to address the challenges of modern slavery in global supply chains. They are the founders of Fifty Eight, and live with their three girls in the North West of England—where it is sunnier than most people would have you believe.
Photo credits: Chelsea Hudson