How often do you think about your relationship with Jesus?
How are you related to Jesus? There are so many facets to your relationship with Jesus. Here a few obvious ones:
- Jesus is Lord and Savior: it’s a Master-servant relationship
- Jesus is the Messiah, or Christ: it’s a relationship between prophecy and its fulfillment in our lives
- Jesus is our Teacher: it’s a teacher-student relationship
- He is the Great Physician: it’s a healer-patient relationship
Jesus is all these things and they are beyond value
But Jesus is not just all these high and holy things to us.
He refers to God as his Father and our Father (see John 20:17). That makes Jesus our brother since we have the same Father.
And Jesus called his disciples his friends (see John 15:14, 15). That can certainly apply to you and me as well, as long as we actually follow Jesus in what we say and do.
When you think about it, it’s amazingly wonderful we can know Jesus as our Lord, our teacher, our Great Physician, but for him to also be our friend and brother makes the relationship even more meaningful.
Our relationship with Jesus evolves
Let’s look a little closer at these various relationships we have with Jesus.
When you accept Jesus as the Messiah and make a commitment to be his disciple, you enter into a Master-servant relationship with Christ, which becomes a Teacher-student relationship.
The closer we get to Jesus the more we’re healed, and a healer-patient relationship develops.
This evolves into a deeper friendship. And finally we feel the intimacy of Jesus being our brother.
All these relationships develop and mature as we keep following Jesus.
He gives us salvation, love and truth, joy and fulfillment. We are healed and blessed, then share Christ’s message with others. He teaches us. We put his lessons into practice in our daily lives. Then we let our light shine, which brings others to the light.
Our relationship with Christ is a back and forth, two-way relationship.
The basis of a good relationship
What is at the core of every good relationship, and especially in the relationships we have with Jesus?
It’s about the love.
Jesus loves you. You love Jesus.
You want to follow him and obey his teachings and commandments because he has done so much for you.
You love to learn from him, what he said and what he did, and he loves to teach you.
A good relationship is based on love. Jesus said,
If you love me, you will keep my commandments. John 14:15 ESV
Usually this is translated, “If you love me, keep my commandments.”
I use to think this was actually Jesus commanding us to keep his commandments.
But the verb tense here is future indicative. That means it’s a statement of something that will be true in the future.
This is as true today as it was 2,000 years ago.
How much do you love Jesus?
So, maybe the real question is: How much do you love Jesus?
Well…How well we keep his commandments is actually the measure of how much we love him and the measure of our relationship with him.
Love is not just words, but deeds.
A more intimate relationship with Jesus
But there’s one more aspect of our relationship to Jesus that most folks never really consider.
We can be Jesus’ mother.
I can hear you thinking, “James, you’re stretching things a little too far here.”
But check out what Jesus says when his mother, his brothers and sisters can’t get through the crowd to talk to him. He asks the crowd,
‘Who is my mother and who are my brothers?”
And stretching out his hand toward his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers!
For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.” Matthew 12:48-50 ESV
He adds in Luke,
“My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and do it.” Luke 8:21 ESV
You can’t always take the Bible literally
Here’s another example of why you can’t take the whole Bible literally.
Jesus did not mean we become his literal mother. We don’t turn into Mary. Only she could fill that role.
It’s easier to see how we can be Jesus’ brothers and sisters.
But his mother? Really? Yes, really.
Jesus clearly states that everyone who hears the word of God and does God’s will is not just his brother and sister but also his mother.
What does it mean to be Jesus’s mother?
Here’s my take on it.
When you hear God’s voice and do God’s will, you are, in effect, “giving birth” to Jesus in your heart and in your life.
Every time you obey God’s will, Christ appears more clearly in your life and to those around you.
Think about the relationship a mother has with her child.
A mother does not just give birth; she nurtures, loves, protects, teaches, and guides her child.
Every time you set aside your will to listen for and follow God’s will, you are metaphorically mothering the baby Jesus, the toddler Jesus, the teenage Jesus, the grown man Jesus in your heart.
You are giving your love to the Cause of Christ just as you would to your own child.
A mother’s role
Sometimes a mother teaches and protects her child. Sometimes she has to let her children learn their own lessons and defend themselves.
Think how Mary must have felt when Jesus left for the wilderness to fast for 40 days. Whatever she may have felt for her son, she did not prevent him from going.
As a “mother” of Christ’s appearing today, sometimes you may have to let go of your own concerns when the church of Jesus is being tempted in the wilderness way too long.
How do you mother Jesus?
Are you nurturing the appearing of Christ in your own heart?
I’m not talking about the Second Coming. I’m talking about the way Christ appears every day in our lives.
When the angel Gabriel visited Mary, he prophesied she would become pregnant through the Holy Spirit.
When the Holy Spirit visits you, what do you become pregnant with?
What will you give birth to as a result of your closeness to God? How will the Christ appear when you give birth to it?
Will you be a better parent, child, or spouse? Will you start a new Christ-focused career? Will you give up your own plan for your life and do what God has ordained?
A good and healthy relationship is not only full of love, but there’s an intimacy and mutual support that can’t be found anywhere else.
If your small child asks for a glass of water, you get it for them.
As his “mother,” will you do what Jesus asks you to do?
When a child is older it’s only natural to ask for help around the house with the chores.
As Jesus’ “mother” what do you ask of him?
There’s an expectation in both these cases that the parent and the child will do what is needed.
Can Jesus expect you to fulfill his requests?
Do you have that same expectation that Christ will come to your aid when you ask for help?
Your relationship with Jesus is trust based on love
It really goes beyond just expecting love and support. It’s a matter of trust based on love. It’s a confidence and assurance.
Jesus trusts us to follow him. And we do. We trust Christ to help us. And he does. Over and over and over again.
What a partnership. What a relationship – a mother-child relationship, and so much more.
The same applies to Jesus being our brother. How can you be a brother or sister to Jesus? He does so much for you. What can you do for him?
Now I realize not everyone has the ideal relationship with their siblings or their children. But Christ is always available to have that ideal relationship with you as his brother, his sister, and his mother.
Every time you have heard God’s word (see Luke 8:21) and obeyed the will of God, you have been a brother, a sister, and/or a mother to Jesus.
Embrace your full relationship with Jesus
I encourage you to embrace this aspect of your relationship with Jesus.
It is close. It is intimate. It is powerful, full of love and support.
It is holy.
As you give birth to and partner with Christlike thoughts and actions, nurture them and they will nurture you.
The heart of prayer
It all comes down to listening for, hearing, and doing God’s will.
This is the very heart of prayer. In fact, every time you hear God’s voice and obey it, you are praying.
Usually we think of prayer as talking to God.
We petition. We repent. We thank Him. We glorify Him.
But how often do we think of prayer as God talking to us?
How often do we think of prayer as doing what God tells us? This is prayer in action.
Have you ever had a friend who did most of the talking in a conversation?
They go on and on with a diatribe of their woes, or their “brilliant” opinions, with little effort to listen to what you have to say.
This can get a bit annoying pretty fast.
How do you talk to God?
But isn’t that what we sometimes do to God in our prayers?
We talk non-stop, explaining things as if He were not able to grasp the situation.
We repeat ourselves as if talking to an old man who is hard of hearing.
We go on and on with our agenda and self-justification instead of remembering that one of the simplest and most effective prayers is to ask instead of tell God something. And then, just listen.
When you ask your friend a question, the normal thing to do next is to remain silent and wait for an answer.
How often do we do that in our prayers?
Listening to God is one of the most powerful aspects of prayer and we need to practice this approach more often.
Jesus listened to God
Jesus told his followers that he only shared with them what he heard from God.
For I have not spoken on my own authority, but the Father who sent me has himself given me a commandment – what to say; and what to speak. John 12:49 ESV
The reason Jesus could say what the Father told him was because he listened.
In this sense, Jesus was always in a state of prayer, of hearing God’s voice and obeying it.
How often do your prayers include listening to God’s voice…and then doing what He tells you?
When you hear God’s voice and obey it, you become a member of Jesus’s immediate family: his brother, his sister, and yes, even his mother.
Cherish your relationship with Jesus
There are so many ways we’re related to Jesus, so many different aspects to our relationship with him.
We need to cherish all of them.
But always remember this intimate relationship you have with Jesus as a member of his immediate family, when you hear the voice of God and obey it.
James Early is a Bible teacher, speaker, and podcaster and conducts Bible workshops online and in person. His focus is on getting back to the original Christianity of Jesus by embracing the mindset of Christ in daily life. Contact him here.
Bible verses in this episode
John 20:17 NKJV
17 I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God.
John 15:14, 15 NKJV
14 You are My friends if you do whatever I command you.
15 No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you.
John 14:15 ESV
15 If you love me, you will keep my commandments.
Matthew 12:48-50 ESV
48 Who is my mother and who are my brothers?’
49 And stretching out his hand toward his disciples, he said, ‘Here are my mother and my brothers!
50 For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.”
Luke 8:21 ESV
21 My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and do it.
John 12:49 ESV
49 For I have not spoken on my own authority, but the Father who sent me has himself given me a commandment – what to say; and what to speak.