We have heard Dorothy emphatically say after her visit to Oz, "There's no place like home, there's no place like home." But where is home anyway? For Dorothy it was somewhere in Kansas with her Aunty Em and Toto, but home certainly doesn't simply mean a house with four walls.
For some home may be a family or a wonderfully spacious and comfortable home we share with family. It may be a husband or a wife, or maybe for some its just a certain feeling which brings a certain sense of security and warmth.
As Christians we answer that question much differently than many people. Why? Because, Christians don't have the same prerogatives and motivations that might be considered normal by mere worldly standards. Jesus was speaking to great crowd one day when his mother and brothers came looking for him asking to speak with Him. They had automatically assumed that since they were "related" to the Messiah, they had a "right to access" above all others. Jesus replied to those who gave him the news about His visitors with this question.
Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?
Stretching out His hand toward His disciples He said,
Here are my mother and my brothers! for whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother. (Matt 12:48-50)
Let me make a few observations from this text that reveal something about not only what home is but where it may be found.
First, home isn't necessarily found among blood relatives. Many people have discovered this after suffering the loss of their family members through death, divorce, or the painful destruction of the family in some other manner. Whatever may be the means of the family unit being forever divided or dissolved we're reminded that families, no matter how strong or resolute, can be broken beyond repair. This is an ugly but true fact of human existence.
Secondly, Jesus affirms something here which every believer in Jesus Christ discovers at some point or another in their life, and that is the relationships we forge with our Christian brothers and sisters are many times stronger and more lasting and durable than mere human relationships. Just like Jesus said here about his own family before they believed He was the Messiah, He affirmed that those who did "the will of my Father in heaven" were his actual family members. You may ask the question "well what is the will of the Father?" Jesus answered that question very straightforwardly in John 6:40.
For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in Him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.
Secondly, knowing that you belong to the family of God provides the deepest and most pofound security possible. As I write this blog today I'm on my way to Liberia and then Togo to teach pastors. I'm not anticipating any problems on this two week trip, but I have no assurance of that. I ask God to bring me safely home to my wife and family. He knows that beside Him, I have no greater love than what I have for my wife Grace and all my wonderful children and grandchildren. I wouldn't trade them for anything. They are better to me than any job, home, relationship, or cheap thrill.
But even they know that there is one I love still more, and I expect each of them to live with the same conviction. The millions of believers who have died serving Jesus Christ or paid the price of martyrdom knew and understood this. The book of Hebrews said they died knowing the will of God promised more than anything the world can either promise or produce for us.
These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles in the earth. For people who speak this way make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. (Heb 11:13-14)
Sometimes when I'm at home with my family gathered around me I pinch myself and wonder if it could ever be any better than this....but then I pause and remember that the best is still yet to come for those who put their faith in Christ!
If you know Christ as your Savior and Lord, welcome to the family!