Family In Christ

-Moses Dayan Kodali

OT Genes.27: 11-29
Psalm 127
Epistle I John 2: 7-17
Gospel Mat. 12: 46-50

O God our Lord, we thank you for our homes and families. We beseech you to make our families as faith forming spaces where we love and respect one another by abiding in your light and fulfilling your will; through the same Jesus who living in a family in Nazareth shared the life of an earthly home, who now lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen

Family is the most basic unit of a society. The family has been seen as a universal social institution an inevitable part of human society Till date there isn’t any civilization without family. When a child is born his identity in the society is based on his family, in a complex Indian society the caste, class, social status, political status,Language,culture,tradition,Religion..etc depends on which family the person hails from.in other words these are gifted to the person (or branded) by birth. This shows the influence of family on a person’s life. Whereas biblical understanding of Family is a bit different.

In Old testament the terminology depicting Family are

1.Šēbeṭ/Maṭṭeh (“Tribe”)2. Mišpāḥâ (“Clan”) 3. Bêt-˒āb (“Father’s House”)

 the more clear understanding of the word family  resides in Bêt-˒āb The Fathers house which denotes an extensive household where the legacy continues from the ancestral head. A similar understanding can be seen from the word “oikos” (Latin Familia) a common term in the Greco Roman World which means Household and lineage.

Sociologically the bêt-˒āb was the most important small unit in the nation and for the individual Israelite, man, woman, or child—slave or resident alien—it was the essential locus of personal security within the national covenant relationship with Yahweh.

This was the social background of family set up of an Israelite

Family – The prime foundation for faith

A family is primary school for a newborn baby. All the Ethical, social, personal, moral and Aesthetic values are taught by the parents in a family.so family is an imperishable resource for a person. Good family imparts good values to a person which results in a better society.

As per the spiritual life of a person is concerned family is the first institute to imbibe the spiritual motivation in a person .in a Christian family parents take the role in developing devotional values in the child which shapes him in understanding salvation progressively. Hence family plays a key role in Faith formation.

Dysfunctional family:

1.Genesis 27:11-29

 This text shows the dysfunctional family setup of Isaac and Rebekah. The family’s lineage is from Abraham who is considered as progenitor of faith and progenitor of Jews as well. Here we see evidently that blessings have flown from Abraham to Isaac as a heritage and now it is the term of Isaac to pass on his blessings to the next generation. We know that these blessings are a covenant made with Abraham. Here we see an imbalance in the distribution of Isaac’s blessings to Rebekah’s twins Esau and Jacob. In this passage we can see clearly that both the parents Isaac and Rebekah have their own favorites. Isaac loved Esau and Rebekah loved Jacob Gen25:28.  This is not a healthy family setup. The birth of Esau and Jacob reveals the plan of God that “the older serves the younger” (Gen 25:23) which means that Jacob has to be served by Esau. This fact was over ruled by Isaac as he decided to bless Esau. Later Esau sells his Inheritance his birthright for some stew prepared by his brother (gen 25:33).Finally Jacob and Rebekah deceive Isaac.

 This clearly speaks that a family which is completely dysfunctional and moves against the will of god

  • parents having their favorite Child ( no equal share of love )
  • no peace and harmony  between brothers
  • Esau selling his inheritance
  • Isaac’s partiality to bless Esau
  • Jacob and Rebekah deceiving Jacob
  • Esau threatens to kill Jacob, who then flees to Haran.

Ideal Family – Faith Centered Family

1 John 2:7-17

The Author in this Epistle Emphasizes the importance of the core values of a family when Gnosticism has been a widespread heresy at that time. It was very operative among the church. Indeed Gnosticism has been propagating unbiblical teachings which lead to licentiousness, at this juncture the author accentuated the importance of loving Each other. The deeper understanding is- a family deep rooted in faith, with the love of Christ would enjoy the true salvation, the true light of god will shine upon them and they in turn reflect the light to a wider world. The Christian Life is an integration of ethical and Christological values and the Church at large is a spiritual family where Faith has to be the center or Locus of the family relation which generates unconditional love and respect for fellow brethren. “The world and its desires pass away but whoever does the will of God lives forever” is a strict commandment not to be in love with the world but to maintain a healthy spiritual relationship. Hence a Christian family teaches its children to grow spiritually and ethically where faith becomes the first step of learning.

Divine Family – Doing gods will

Mat. 12: 46-50

This passage shows Jesus stating that “For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother. The passage seems to be so strange that Jesus disowned his family but this is on the contrary. We see Jesus pushing this understanding of FAMILY to the next level that whosoever does the will of Father in heaven are his mother and his brothers ( family). Whosoever believes that he is the Messiah would have an eternal relation with him transcending all the Earthly relations. Jesus’s Ministry was mostly confined to the lost sheep of the house of Israel but they looked down on him. His biological relation with Mary and her sons represents the blood relationship with nation of Israel. Now here the blood relations have been superseded by the spiritual relation ( whosoever does the will of god) making his outreach more widespread whether Jews or Gentiles to have an eternal spiritual relationship with him

Conclusion:

The word Family itself brings happiness, a sense of comfort and a divine feeling. Family should be the hub for invoking faith among its members. A Christ centered family is a faith centered family and vice versa.  As Jesus lived and justified his earthly family life he also transcended himself to the divine reality of doing Heavenly Father’s will. Let us strengthen our families by letting them grow stronger in faith and doing the will of our Lord and savior Jesus Christ. Let our families stand as address to a deep rooted faith and propagating the will of god in words and deeds as well. May the Lord Transcend our church and families to this divine reality. 

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