Posted by Craig Borlase on 23 December 2015

Just then his mother and brothers showed up. Standing outside, they relayed a message that they wanted a word with him. He was surrounded by the crowd when he was given the message, “Your mother and brothers and sisters are outside looking for you.”
Jesus responded, “Who do you think are my mother and brothers?” Looking around, taking in everyone seated around him, he said, “Right here, right in front of you—my mother and my brothers. Obedience is thicker than blood. The person who obeys God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.”
[Mark 3:31-35]

Can you imagine how it must have felt for Mary to hear Jesus say this? It must have hurt. But there was more to come, as Mary had to watch her son die a gruesome and shameful death.

Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, "Dear woman, here is your son," and to the disciple, "Here is your mother." From that time on, this disciple took her into his home. John 19 v 25-27

In the days before he rose again, did Mary wonder with the disciples whether it had all gone totally wrong? Afterwards it must have been overwhelming as she gradually came to understand the significance of her son’s life and death — for her and for the rest of the world.

Thinking about Mary encourages us to explore the idea of exactly what it looks like to be used by God. After all, are we supposed to find the right thing, the right 'ministry' so that we might get closer to God? Not quite — you see, God works the other way around. He's far more interested in the quality of our relationship with him.

We don’t have to understand exactly what God's going to do with us - Mary didn’t know the full story until after Jesus resurrection. And we don’t have to feel that we are up to the task; Mary asked Gabriel how on earth all of it was going to happen and he promised that the Holy Spirit would overshadow her. In the same way, God promises his Holy Spirit to help us do what we couldn’t do alone.

What steps can you take today to move you closer to God’s will for your life?

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