There was a man who was so consumed with loving his friends, he hardly had time to eat. His mother and brothers were so worried when they heard the reports about him that they walked thirty miles to take him into their custody. They said, “He has lost his senses.” Other people were saying even darker things about him. When his mother and brothers got to the city he was in, it was worse than they expected. So many people were crowded around him that they couldn’t get near him. They couldn’t even see him. They anxiously waited for him to respond after they sent word that they had arrived.
His response worked its way through the large crowd. After a long time his mother heard words that pierced her heart. She heard that her son had asked, “Who are my mother and my brothers?” Then he answered his painfully pointed question by saying to the huge crowd around him, “Behold, my mother and my brothers! For whoever does the will of God, he is my brother and sister and mother.”1
That day Yahshua turned away His own mother because she wanted Him to come home and live a normal life. He wanted her to come into the new society He was establishing. He called her to do the same thing everyone who followed Him had done — leave everything behind that they had or hoped to be. In return, He showed them a completely new, marvelous way of life. In this life those who clung to Him were learning just what He meant when He spoke of the Kingdom of God. It was so wonderful that no matter what He said to them, even when it shocked them (as it had his own mother), all they could say was, “Where else can we go? You have the words of eternal life.”2
At His side they learned to judge the motives of their hearts. It hurt to have the justifications they had used to get their own way exposed. But that helped them to see the strife and contention that was in them. Yahshua caused them to face all the things they had always hidden away. When He did this they would weep in remorse. Washed by the words He spoke and the forgiveness He poured out, they found they were able to love other human beings whom they had once despised. What went on in their hearts was a greater miracle than the healing of lepers. They were becoming what human beings were originally created to be — honest, loyal, caring, always loving and being loved.
There is another place to belong. This is much different than the family of God. You can tell you’re arriving by the menacing presence of loneliness. By that time you have already gone too far beyond the boundaries of your conscience to find your way back. Too many people have been hurt by your self centered pursuit of pleasure. Every selfish act, every bit of cowardice that kept you from standing up and doing what you knew was right, and every careless, hurtful word has damaged your ability to trust and be trusted by those around you. The loneliness that results from this is like a debtor’s prison.
Once debtors were thrown into prison when they couldn’t pay their debts. There was no way out unless they paid up and no way to pay. They were left to rot in jail unless someone ransomed them. That’s the way it is with sin and loneliness. There’s no way out unless you pay the full price, and the full price is beyond your ability to pay. The full price is death. So you live trapped in a life that brings you to death. There is no other price that can make right all the things you have done and nothing else that can release you from the selfishness that causes you to keep on doing the things that push people away from the core of your being. Ultimately you acknowledge that there is no way out of the debtor’s prison of loneliness.
Even Yahshua’s disciples needed a ransom. Even they were in debtor’s prison. You see, He went right into debtor’s prison to give them hope. Then He needed to get them out. There had to be a way to break out, to bring the reality of heaven to earth. If He was going to lead them out, He was going to have to pay the full price for them all. They couldn’t pay for themselves anymore than we could. But He could because there was nothing in Him of death or loneliness or sin. He wasn’t guilty. We were. He died in our place.
Since He died for us, we all died. And the life we now live, we no longer live for ourselves, but for Him who died in our place. He rose from the dead so that we could live just as He did, bringing the same love to others that He brought to His disciples and that He poured out on us. That is what we have devoted our lives to. That is why there are no rich or poor among us. Since we died to everything in the waters of baptism, there is no prejudice between blacks and whites. Women are not sex objects, they are human beings of equal dignity and honor as men. The tremendous gap between parents and children is closing in the Community. As our children grow up, they don’t see us saying one thing and doing another.
We live in what the Bible calls the Kingdom of God. It is a new social order that offers hope to everyone who will obey the words of our Master to leave behind everything for His sake and the sake of such precious good news.3 He calls you to abandon your life and take the way out of this perverse society, entering His kingdom with the trust of a little child. That is the only way to enter the family of God.