I’ve always thought that some of the most profound and saving thoughts are found in looking at what God does not will. I know that sounds strange because of how often we talk and focus on what he does will. He wills to die for sinners. He wills to heal the sick, etc. But I still stand by it. Some of God’s most saving thoughts are found in what he does not will and what he does not do. Like how, for example, he does not will that anyone should perish (2 Peter 3:9). I could gush on that for a while, but for today I’ll hold off.
What I will do is gush about how God willed not to answer the prayer of his mother (Matthew 12:46-50). He straight up denied her. And get this: it was an easy prayer request for him to answer! No miracle required. She messaged him essentially saying, “Come outside and have a conversation with me and your brothers.” That was it. And he said, “No.” Sort of. It was actually starker than that. He didn't bother to answer her at all. He stonewalled the request of his biological mother. And that is one saving thought.
I know. You think I’m nuts. You’re thinking, “How can you be happy about that? Mary gave up everything for him. Her reputation for starters. Plus, she changed his diapers and stayed up late with him and saved him from gashing his chin open on the hearth like a zillion times. How can it possibly be a saving thought for us that Jesus denied the request of his birth mom? Why should I care that Jesus does not first listen and honor and care for his biological family?”
That last question is pretty important. We need to understand that Jesus didn’t deny the request because he was failing to care or honor or respect or love his mother. He clearly did. Isn’t one of his most moving statements from his cross the one where we heard him think so tenderly of Mary even as he was dying? This isn’t carelessness or a lack of love for Mary in Jesus. It’s something else.
Do you see it?
Jesus is trying to show us that there is a love in his heart that trumps biology.
That outweighs a shared last name. That is outsized and better and higher and fiercer and more on his heart than genetics or facial structure or shared childhood experiences. Something more in him than the love of his mother. And that really is something. Because even we care about our mothers deeply. Even we listen to them in very committed ways. But Jesus? He did that in a way only God could. We could even say he loved his mother divinely, but he loves the people of faith even more.
He considers us family in a truer and higher and better way than even Mary. He thinks we are connected to him in a more profound and ultimate sense than her. But why are we surprised? The cross was how fierce he was for us. The grave the extent of commitment to us.
Such is his love and his loyalty and his faithfulness to us as family that he wills to commit to us and hear us and run to us ten thousands times before he'd do that even for his own biological mother.
And that is one saving thought. I'd suggest letting it come – and I write this very deliberately – home to you right now. How quickly he plans to run to you when you call. How much you’re on his heart when you talk to him. How willing he is to save you and care for you and protect you. Even more so than he was for Mary. Let that come home and your entire world will be rocked. Totally ROCKED in the sense that everything will not only feel, but also be that solid for you.
See what I mean? Some of the best truth you’ll ever discover about Jesus is found in what he wills not to do. Because it’s right there where you also discover what he does will.
Jesus wills to listen and to act and to save you in a way that surpasses even the totally divine love of his own mother.