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Behold the Family of God

Photo of Debbra StephensDebbra Stephens | Bio

Debbra Stephens

Transplanted in the South from her home state of Michigan, this suburban mom-of-two loves her Lord Jesus and His wonderful Word. A dedicated student of the Word, she loves to share what she learns in the classroom, at events, and on the page—dependent upon the ever-faithful Holy Spirit to turn thoughts to text. Debbra has authored four Bible studies, all published by 21st Century Christian Publishers in Nashville, Tennessee. She launched the series Advent Living Books for her seasonal daily devotionals in 2018. Debbra blogs at her website and has been published in Christian Woman Magazine.

She clung to life with a fierce diligence. It was as though she refused to leave this life before having one last opportunity to see her daughter. To speak important last words. Some would say she willed her heart to keep beating. But those of faith would say it was the grace of God granting her heart’s desire.

After beholding her daughter, her countenance reflected the peace that was hers at last.

As someone who works with the elderly, I’ve seen priorities take up prominence at the end of one’s life. They burn relentlessly for fulfillment.

And family was one such priority to Jesus as He hung upon the Cross:

When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to her, “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 19:26-27)

Right up to His last breath from the Cross, Jesus was teaching His disciples. Here, the apostle John learned much about Jesus’ priority regarding familial relationships.

With these last words, Jesus obediently fulfills His duty as firstborn son, in assigning a caregiver for His widowed mother. More than that, however, He is uniting one disciple to another as family.

That’s exactly what He does with each of us. In Christ we are all given to one another as family—for that is what we are.

That is what the Trinity has made us to be.

Kinship in Christ is not about bloodlines, but about faithfully sharing this life we live in Him.

It’s not about blood . . . but bond. A bond purchased by His blood.

Our responsibilities do not end with our children, or our parents, but extend to all of us.

We are our brother’s keeper–across every border, nationality, gender, social and economic class. And especially across the tall, hardened walls of our feelings.

We are family. We are brothers and sisters in the same family in Christ (Hebrews 2:11).

We are given one to another, to nurture, protect, disciple, and love. Jesus taught us to love God, love our neighbor, and, yes, even our enemies.

And He came precisely to show us what that love looks like.

Are you loving His family?

Jesus taught the apostles one-on-one about loving others. And John’s writings are filled with instruction on loving one another in the family of God. Here is but a sampling:

By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another (John 13:35).

This is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us (1 John 3:23).

Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us (1 John 4:11-12).

And what about the many teachings from other New Testament authors? Like:

Keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters (Hebrews 13:1).

I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought (1 Corinthians 1:10).

The New Testament contains a whole list of “one another” passages. We are commanded to:

  • Serve one another
  • Admonish one another
  • Accept one another
  • Encourage one another
  • Forgive one another
  • Submit to one another
  • Be kind and compassionate to one another
We were given to one another.

Behold! The family of God—beholding one another as family.

The elderly who need assistance are our father or mother. The battered woman is our sister. The man struggling with worldly temptations, our brother. The bullied student is our child.

Yes, Christianity is about relationship—relationship with Jesus (who reconciles our relationship with our Heavenly Father) and relationship with one another. Jesus made that point perfectly clear with final words delivered from the Cross.

(For more from Debbra visit her at