See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are. For this reason the world does not know us, because it did not know Him.
1 John 3:1
I’ll never forget his face—the gravity of words haltingly spoken from one so young. He was just a child, yet shouldering the blame of being unaccepted, unwanted, rejected by both his birth parents and numerous foster parents who kept sending him back. “It was my fault they didn’t want me. I guess I just didn’t know how to be good.”
It was March 2002. Rosie O’Donnell, the talk show hostess, had just publicly revealed that she was in a lesbian relationship. The article “Oh By the Way” in People Magazine carried the headline, “Rosie O’Donnell never hid her love life from friends and family. Now she’s going public to help change a law barring gays from adopting.”
I first saw this little boy with the memorable face and heart-wrenching words on television as the media interviewed several children adopted by gays. At last he had been given parents who would take him into their family and adopt him. Unfortunately they were two men, but at this stage in his fragile life, it didn’t matter: he belonged to a family with other children who had also experienced the bitter pain of rejection.
Every child who was interviewed wanted only one thing—to belong, to have the security of at least one parent who loved and cared for them. Two of the same sex would be better than having no family at all, even if it was a little hard to explain to friends at school and in the neighborhood.
Our Creator did not intend for us to be alone. Family was on God’s heart from the beginning. He had it written in His book: “From whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name.” In the very first pages of the Bible, God tells us that His intention is for man to be part of a family.
When God’s firstborn came to earth, the Eternal Father was careful to put Him in a family. Although Jesus was Mary’s firstborn, half sisters and brothers would follow. (Matthew 1:24, 25) Mary remained a virgin only until she gave birth to Jesus. Matthew makes it clear that those who lived in Nazareth knew “the carpenter’s” family. Speaking of Jesus, Matthew writes,
He came to His hometown and began teaching them in their synagogue, so that they were astonished, and said, “Where did this man get this wisdom and these miraculous powers? Is not this the carpenter’s son? Is not His mother called Mary, and His brothers, James and Joseph and Simon and Judas? And His sisters are they not all with us? Where then did this man get all these things?” And they took offense at Him. But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown and in his own household.” (Matthew 13:54-57)
Jesus would not be raised an only child, incubated from conflicts, consternation, and even possible contamination from other siblings. The Son of God, Son of Man, would not be holy by default, but by design, by choice. Jesus would be tempted, tested in every way you and I are (Hebrews 2:17-18; 4:15). Yet He would not sin, not even in childhood.
What does sinlessness look like in real life? How does it play out? We don’t know, since we have never seen a young child without sin living in a family of sinners. And God has not chosen to give us this information, so we won’t speculate on what He has hidden. It is enough to understand what He has revealed.
What God does want us to know is that Jesus was part of a family. Although He belonged to God, God saw to it that His Son was raised with a mother, father, and siblings, and in a working-class family from a small, nondescript village so unimportant that one of Jesus’ contemporaries asked, “Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?” (John 1:46)
Jesus had an earthly mother and father. He was known as “the carpenter’s son.” He had brothers and sisters to play and talk with, and a mother to supervise them.
Beloved, don’t miss the picture. Get God’s point: family, belonging, relationships, parents—one of each sex—are by design, God’s design!
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