God never holds in contempt or despises what He created. Sin and wrongdoing are not part of his creation, though his rational creatures are allowed to pervert and disrupt the good order he created. Even when what was created good turns to evil, God continues to love and seeks to save. The family is something good, and an organization willed by the Creator. When Jesus talks about who his true family members are, he is not suggesting we destroy the natural order he himself established within a household. What he is saying, however, is that something good can become bad if we make it more essential than the Word of God. Think about how essential family bonds are for human life. What Jesus is saying is that the relationship we have with our Heavenly Father is even more essential. The human family is a foundation for our life to the extent that it encourages and allows us to consider all others brothers and sisters. It grounds us well if it opens our hearts to the Father’s will.
Hear what is even more wonderful, that the hidden and veiled mysteries of the ancient books are in some degree revealed by the ancient prophets. For Micah the prophet spoke thus. “According to the days of your coming out of Egypt will I show unto him marvelous things.” … Our sins are overwhelmed and extinguished in baptism, just as the Egyptians were drowned in the sea. “He does not retain his anger forever because he delights in steadfast love.… You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea.”1
BASIL THE GREAT:
“The Lord sits enthroned over the flood.” A flood is an overflow of water that causes all lying below it to disappear. It cleanses all that was previously filthy. Therefore he calls the grace of baptism a flood, so that the soul, being washed well of its sins and rid of the old person, is suitable henceforth as a dwelling place of God in the Spirit. Further, what is said in the twenty-first psalm agrees with this. For after he has said, “I have acknowledged my sin, and my injustice I have not concealed,” and also, “For this shall every one that is holy pray to you,” he then said, “And yet in a flood of many waters, they shall not come near him.” Indeed, sin shall not come near to one who received baptism for the remission of his transgressions through water and the Spirit. Something akin to this is found in the prophecy of Micah: “Because he delights in mercy, he will turn again and have mercy on us. He will put away our iniquities and will cast them into the bottom of the sea.”2
THEODORE OF MOPSUESTIA:
He said these things, not in contempt of his mother and his brothers, but in order to show that he values more highly closeness of soul than any blood relation of body. For it was necessary to say this, both for those who thought that it was more important for him to interact with his own family, as well as for the instruction of those who were present. For just as he himself says to the disciples, “he who loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me,” in the same way, I think, Jesus sets a higher value on his disciples than on his “mother and brothers.”3
- EXPLANATION OF THE PSALMS 114.5. Ferreiro, A. (2003). Introduction to the Twelve Prophets. In A. Ferreiro (Ed.), The Twelve Prophets (pp. 176–177). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
- HOMILIES ON THE PSALMS 28.8. Ferreiro, A. (2003). Introduction to the Twelve Prophets. In A. Ferreiro (Ed.), The Twelve Prophets (p. 177). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
- FRAGMENT 71. Simonetti, M. (Ed.). (2001). Matthew 1–13 (p. 262). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.