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Family Ties

Key References: Matt. 12:46-50; Mark 11:11; John 1:12; 11:5; The Desire of Ages, chap. 33, p. 321; chap. 58, pp. 524, 525; The Bible Story (1994), vol. 9, pp. 22-27; vol. 10, pp. 189-191; Our Beliefs nos. 23, 10, 11

Power Text

“Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God” (John 1:12).

Power Point

God promises believers that our place in His family is sure.

“You were adopted,” Linda whispered to her younger sister, Kathy, even though she remembered clearly the day her sister was born.

“What?” Kathy gasped.

“Yeah. Mom and Dad adopted you just like they adopted Ronnie.”

“No way!”

“You don’t have large eyes or curly hair like the rest of us. See, you look like Ronnie,” Linda lied. Weeks later, after Kathy angrily demanded to know whether or not her parents had lied to her, the whole mean mess was straightened out.

If you have ever doubted that you belong in your family, you may be surprised to learn that Jesus knows how that feels. In this lesson Jesus and the apostle John help set the story straight about family—forever.

Jewish children of Jesus’ time learned to obey all the rigid rules taught by the Pharisees. But Jesus was never as concerned about those rules as He was about serving God. As a result, Jesus’ brothers were not happy with their younger brother.

“Why aren’t you reading the teachings of the rabbis?” Jude may have asked when Jesus sat memorizing the Old Testament. “You would impress the rabbi if you could argue from the writings of the scholars. Getting the attention of the rabbi is a must if you want to get accepted at the Temple.” But Jesus knew that the words of life were not in Jewish tradition, but in the Bible. His brothers meant well, but their constant criticism did not succeed in diverting a young boy from His special mission for God.

Jesus learned early on from His mother that the true education needed for life was found in the Word of God. He did not view the study of scriptures as merely a chore to be done. Rather Jesus tried to find how the Bible applied to His everyday life experiences. He lived to honor God and to bless others. “And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man” (Luke 2:52).

In Jesus’ neighborhood children were surrounded with hardship, temptation, and evil influences. Yet Jesus relied on His heavenly Father, who helped Him resist evil. His pleasant nature reflected in how He treated others. Jesus’ family and neighbors were often cheered by His kind words and positive attitude.

Later, as an adult, Jesus carried the same lovely disposition in His relationships with others. During His public ministry Jesus often faced the opposition, jealousy, and unbelief of the Jewish leaders. On such occasions He found refuge and warm welcome in the home of His friends.

Mary, Martha, and Lazarus, two adult sisters and their brother living in Bethany, two miles from Jerusalem, opened their warm, loving home to Jesus. Here the Master found the rest and peace that He may have missed in His own family. Maybe in Lazarus, Jesus found an understanding, older brother. When Jesus was traveling to or from Jerusalem, He stayed with these friends.

Like every human being, the Savior longed for companionship and human sympathy. He found a true home in the family of these three siblings. Jesus was at peace in the company of these dear friends. He knew that He could speak to them openly about God’s kingdom without being misunderstood.

Jesus loved every person that He met. Yet what made His friendship with these siblings special was the willingness of Lazarus and his sisters to accept Jesus’ love and allow Him to change their lives. The generous welcome and hospitality of this family helped Jesus feel at home in Bethany.

Jesus understands the human need and desire to belong to a family. He came into our world to redeem us and restore us back into His family. His love for us is greater than a father’s love for his children. To all who receive Jesus, God gives the right to become children of God. Their place in His family is sure!