Brother, Sister, Mother – Mark 3:35

On Mark 3:35

Whoever would do God’s will, he is my brother and sister and mother.

There are two kinds of family. There is the earthly biological family where a man and a woman have children. Then there is God’s family, born not of human desire, but of God’s Word. Christians are united by the bonds of the blood of God’s love. It is, Jesus tells us, a deeper bond even than that of biological family.

The nature of God’s family is revealed in this verse. In it, the one who does God’s will – and the word for do here is in the aorist subjunctive, which implies that we must continue to do God’s will to the end – the one who does God’s will is not only Jesus’ brother, but his sister and mother as well. The paradox or mystery is made explicit in the Greek, where the pronoun referring to the one who would do God’s will is emphatically masculine singular, β€œhe”, whereas two of the three ways a man is said to be towards Jesus are feminine roles or ways of being: a man can be God’s sister and also God’s mother, as well as being Jesus’ brother and the Father’s son.

In Sonship the categories of biological gender dissolve into a greater Personhood. A man learns the art of motherhood by being the birthplace of the Word of God and learning to look after the growing Word as he dwells in us. We take care to nurture the Word in us by the practice of nurturing and bringing to birth the Word around us. By nurturing the Word within and without, we are all mothers of comfort for a world that needs God’s gentleness, that we are born again to be.

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