Refresh: Open with prayer. Ask for the Holy Spirit to open your heart to new understanding and for God’s character to be revealed.
Read: Matthew 28:1-10 in the English Standard Version (ESV). Note 1–3 insights or questions.
Reflect: Can anything good come out of Nazareth? was the question that people raised about Jesus. Clearly, this was meant to accuse him and cast doubt on His reputation. Even when he went home to preach, they were upset with Him. At one point, some of His family members said of Jesus, “He is out of his mind” (Mark 3:21). Later a message arrived to Jesus indicating that His mother, Mary, and His brothers were calling Him to come outside. Jesus replied:
"Who are my mother and my brothers?" And looking about at those who sat around Him, He said, "Here are my mother and my brothers! For whoever does the will of God, He is my brother and sister and mother.” —Mark 3:33-34
That would be really hard to accept for the family. And you have to wonder what caused this tension. Could it be that Jesus did not chose any of His relatives to be His disciples? That they were wondering why they were not in His inner circle for the movement that would change the world?
Family is deeply complex, and Christmas has the ability to bring all sorts of different emotions and conflicts to a head. Its important to remember that the ways of Jesus are not our ways (Isaiah 55:8). To trust that Jesus knows why and when and how is critical to our faith journey. It was the same at the cross. While hanging there, Jesus looked at John, His disciple, and Mary, His mother. He made arrangements for her to be taken care of by John and for her to take care of John in return. For her to continue to be an amazing mother. For the two families to be united at the foot of the cross. We discover that Mary will be the one to tell John and Peter the news about the tomb being empty, and they will be the ones who want to believe before anyone else, because the cross brings people together. Maybe this Christmas we need to mend some bridges in the name of Jesus.
Recalibrate: Which bridge needs to be mended in your friendships?
Respond: Pray for the grace to forgive and forget.
Research: Read one of the recommend commentaries on this passage.
Live Wonder (ages 0–3)
Ask your child, "How can we show others love? Our parents? Our siblings? Our friends?” As parents, ask yourself, how does my child see me living love to others on a daily basis? How do they see me bringing reconciliation to relationships?
Live Adventure (ages 4–11)
Have you ever had your feelings hurt by someone you thought was a really good friend? Were you ever able to be friends again? What does it mean to really say you’re sorry or to really forgive someone?
Live Purpose (ages 12–16)
When was the last time you genuinely apologized to someone? Sometimes people can’t tell the difference between a real apology and a fake one, but you know in your heart if you mean it or not. Is there someone in your life that you need to apologize to or need to forgive?