Lesson 3—I am Part of God’s Family
God has placed us in families. Sometimes we wonder about His wisdom. Sometimes we wish we could have been part of a different family. Or sometimes we just feel amazingly grateful for the families we have.
Yesterday we learned that only members of Aaron’s family were allowed to speak to God on behalf of the Jews. Fortunately, Jesus did away with the need for a human priestly line and became our High Priest. Today we look more closely at family.
When the angel spoke with Mary, he not only told her she would give birth to Jesus, he also told her about Elizabeth’s miraculous birth to come, saying:
Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month (Luke 1:36, emphasis added).
Elizabeth was Mary’s relative (most Bible versions call them “cousins”). Mary was Jesus’ (God Incarnate) earthly mother. That meant Elizabeth was also part of God’s biological earthly family. When Elizabeth was six months pregnant, newly pregnant Mary came to visit Elizabeth.
At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, where she entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. In a loud voice she exclaimed: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!” (Luke 1:39-45).
When Elizabeth saw Mary, she was filled with the Holy Spirit and called herself favored and blessed. Even her unborn baby John leaped for joy. Both Elizabeth and John knew that their Lord was present in the physical body of their family relative, Mary.
It’s still a family thing.
God placed in our hearts a deep need to be His children; to allow Him to be our eternal, Heavenly Father—the One who could provide our every need with no separation between us. Without God, we are spiritual orphans, as Jesus confirmed:
“If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever—the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live” (John 14:15-21, emphasis added).
All of us have empty places in our hearts that only God can fill. Only the Holy Spirit, living in us, can parent us in the way our souls need. Only the love and forgiveness of Jesus can heal the wounds of spiritual childhood and grow us more like Him.
Just as God designed a plan to have Elizabeth be part of Jesus’ biological, earthly family, so God has also given us a path to join His spiritual family. We may not be biologically related to Jesus, but, when we take hold of Jesus’ salvation, Judge God signs the adoption papers that bring us into His eternal spiritual family and we take the family name of Jesus, the Christ (Christian).
In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship [daughtership] through Jesus Christ, (Ephesians 1:5-6, explanation and emphasis added).
Paul further tells us:
God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship [daughtership]. Because you are his sons [daughters], God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir (Galatians 4:4-7, explanation and emphasis added).
God sent His Son Jesus, born of a woman in order to provide for our adoption. We have become God’s children. God is now our Heavenly Father. We are heirs of all that is His. Most importantly, we are heirs to the Kingdom of Heaven. We get to share in the family inheritance.
If Elizabeth were here she would say this was her story. When she visited with her relative Mary, she knew Mary was carrying the Messiah. She knew she was a member of God’s family.
When we recognize that God loves us enough to adopt us into His family, we understand how God might see His women of faith. We can respond:
I am like Elizabeth.
For Thought and Discussion
- In what way do you take pride in your family lineage? How might your adoption into God’s family give you gratitude?
- Did you have a good relationship with your earthly parents? In what ways can you relate your relationship with your earthly parents with that of your Heavenly Father? In what ways is it different?
- What does it mean to be a child of God? What is required to become a child of God? Have you done it?
PRAYER: Heavenly Father, thank you so much for making it official and signing the adoption papers to make us part of your family. Jesus, thank you for making it possible. Help us live up to the reputation as your daughters. Amen.