Israel was frequently referred to as “the children of God.” They were his chosen people and had this family relationship with God that no one else had. Before Christ, all gentiles, of any pagan faith, had to convert to Judaism to be recognized as true children of God. As far back as the children of Adam, Cain and Seth, we see the reference to their descendants as being children of men (Cain’s lineage) or children of God, Seth’s lineage. Israel was God’s family and His children. When the Passover feast was established in the book of Exodus, God instructed that meal to be eaten by the physical family. The blood of the sacrifice applied to the doorways of the family residences. Throughout the history of Judaism, up to our day, the patriarch of the family presides over the Passover meal with his physical family in their own houses much the same as the original Passover. But Jesus came to establish a new family, a family based up faith in God, not physical lineage. It was clear from the beginning of His ministry. When his mother and brothers called for him while he was teaching his disciples, Jesus said, “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! (Matthew 12:48-49).

One of the strongest evidences that Jesus was God in the flesh is the authority in His teaching. For any mere human to teach and preach like Jesus did would be the ultimate hubris or arrogance. When Jesus established the last supper, the Christian communion as observed today, it went against everything the Jews believed. He did not celebrate it with His physical family, but rather with the new family of faith. He did not butcher a lamb to be shared, but rather identified the bread as his own body, which would be broken for the sins of the whole world. He pointed to the blood and identified it not as the covenant of God with Moses and the people of Israel, signed and sealed at the first Passover by the blood of the lamb on the doorposts, but it was a “New Covenant.” It was signed and sealed in His own blood instead. Only God could have done what Jesus did. Just as the Father speaking to Israel through the burning bush, God, in the incarnation of Jesus, spoke to us about a New Covenant.

Jesus’ announcement stood as a firm pronouncement of judgment upon an unbelieving Israel. His own children of the Old Covenant would not accept Him or believe in Him. He thus established a New Covenant. I don’t believe Jesus disowned His physical family. He was, however, showing that the New Covenant was a covenant of Faith. Believing He is who he said He was became the new criteria for entrance into his spiritual family as well as the Kingdom of God. No matter what kind of physical blood runs through our veins, it’s faith in Christ, that makes us true Children of God. It was sealed not with the blood of bulls, lambs or goats, but with His own blood to be shed that night on the Cross of Calvary. When Jesus entrusted His own Mother into the hands of His young apostle, John, instead of her other sons, as He died for our sins, it seems to imply that the spiritual family is even more important than any physical blood relationship.