Summary: Water is what brings Christians together. Our baptism by water makes us all family. The bonds of the branches to the vine should be stronger than blood bonds.
The old saying that “blood is thicker than water” was being upended in this narrative. In this case, one can say that water is thicker than blood. Water is referring to the initiation rite of baptism. At that ceremony, the person being baptized with water becomes a member of the Christian family. The idea is to leave the old self behind to become a new person and a member of a new family. Jesus was able to leave His family behind Him. Eventually, the family joined Him. Jesus was ready to give up the most valuable thing He possessed so that He could follow the LORD.
Jesus gave up his most treasured thing. It was not a material possession but rather His relationship with His family. He treasured his parents, siblings, and extended family members. His mission from the LORD forced Him to make a decision. Follow the LORD or remain a part of his family. He chose the LORD. Are you ready and willing to make a sacrifice of that magnitude for the LORD?
Following Jesus means giving up the world’s ways for a new way of life that pleases the LORD. In the narrative, Jesus is not asking for you to give up your material possessions. The book of Acts has stories in it to demonstrate to us that in order to belong to the family of Jesus, you must be ready to give your money and possessions to the church. That is not what Jesus said! That is what the church said because it gained power over people so it can dictate lives.
Jesus asked that when you join His new family, you are willing to live a life according to the Torah. Why the Torah? This question is what Christians ask today. Jesus said that He came to fulfill the Torah and the Prophets. John’s Gospel calls Jesus the Word of the Lord. The Word of the LORD is the Torah and the writings of the prophets. The Gospels are a fantastic guide about how to live by the Mitzvot of the Torah. Mitzvot is Hebrew for blessings. Think about the Laws of the Torah being Mitzvot instead of Laws. You will receive the LORD’s blessings when you follow the Mitzvot. Jesus wants us to have a blessed life on Earth. A blessed life comes from following the ways of the LORD.
Following the Mitzvot, according to Jesus, will cause a sacrifice. For Jesus, He sacrificed His family of origin. He did not possess money or anything of materialistic value. His only earthly possession was His family. He gave that possession so that he could follow the mission the LORD placed upon Him. If you are a true disciple of Jesus, then you must be trying to live by the Mitzvot of the Torah in the way Jesus instructs. That will cause some sacrifice.
Being Jewish by birth my becoming a follower of Jesus did not go over well with my family of origin. For some time, I had no connection to them; over a long period, that changed. In the same way, Jesus’s family accepted what He was doing. Some of my family of origin has accepted who I am and what I believe to be the truth. It was a sacrifice that was necessary and one that I would do again if given a chance.
It was a prioritization of values when you choose Jesus and the LORD over anything. Jesus does not ask us to give up anything. That is a choice that a disciple has to make. Suppose a behavior or attitude contradicts the Mitzvot of the Torah. In that case, you should want to change it because of your faith and devotion to Jesus. To follow Jesus means to follow His way of living.
Water is used during a baptism to initiate a person into the family of Jesus. The blood bonds of family are broken as a result of the initiation. The connection to the new family is the stronger bond. It must be maintained so that you stay connected to Jesus. Your family of origin is essential. It becomes an obligation to try to get those family members to accept Jesus as the Messiah, and thus they become a part of your new family. Jesus did not abandon His family. Instead, He instructed and convinced them to become a part of His new family. As a disciple, it is your job to bring your family of origin to Him.
Water that is baptismal water is more vital than blood!
May the LORD bless you in your learning and studying of His Word.