48 But he answered and said unto him that told him, Who is my mother? and who are my brethren?
49 And he stretched forth his hand toward his disciples, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren!
50 For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.
In this brief passage we learn that belonging to the spiritual family of Yeshua means that we do the will of the Father. But how do we know what the will of the Father is? Where can we find what the Father requires? At the time that Yeshua made this comment, there was no New Testament. Therefore, Yeshua's audience could only look to the Old Testament for those answers. They would have searched out the laws and requirements in the Torah.
If we ask ourselves today these same questions do we come up with different answers because we have the New Testament? Many would say, "Yes." Many would say that Yeshua fulfilled the requirements of the Old Testament Torah, so we don't have to. However, doesn't this answer cause a disconnect with Yeshua's audience? Why would Yeshua imply one thing to His audience and something different to His followers throughout the later centuries?
Also, if the requirements of following the Father's will have changed, by whose authority were these changes made? Let's look at some possibilities.
1. Yeshua changed the requirements. In the first place, in order for Yeshua to be qualified to be our Savior, He had to follow the Torah completely and perfectly. If He hadn't, He would have been a sinner and could not have been a qualified substitute for us. We would not have had a Savior and we would still be held responsible for our own sins. There would be no eternal life! Secondly, if Yeshua had followed the Torah completely, but taught anyone else that the Torah didn't need to be followed, He would then be called, "The least in the kingdom of Heaven," according to Matthew 5:19.
Matthew 5:17-19 (KJV)
17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.
18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.
19 Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so , he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven (Italics mine).
Yeshua will one day reign as King over the Kingdom of Heaven. Therefore, it is not possible that He would be "least" in the Kingdom and He did not have any authority to change the requirements of God's will as taught in the Torah.
2. Paul or Peter changed the requirements. Most believers would say that the requirements were changed in the New Testament and that there are many verses that indicate this. One such section noted might be Peter's vision of the sheet and the non-Kosher animals that he was instructed to eat. A careful reading of the text shows us that three times Peter indicated what the vision meant. Each time the meaning had to do with the acceptability of Gentiles coming to faith and never once were the food laws in the Torah mentioned.
Paul also makes statements that have been misinterpreted to say that the Torah has been set aside. It could also be said that Paul received this "new" understanding while he was in the desert for three years being instructed by God. However, there are some serious problems with relying on either Peter or Paul as having the authority to change Torah requirements.
Deuteronomy 13:1-5 (KJV)
1 If there arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, and giveth thee a sign or a wonder,
2 And the sign or the wonder come to pass, whereof he spake unto thee, saying, Let us go after other gods, which thou hast not known, and let us serve them;
3 Thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams: for the LORD your God proveth you, to know whether ye love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul.
4 Ye shall walk after the LORD your God, and fear him, and keep his commandments, and obey his voice, and ye shall serve him, and cleave unto him.
5 And that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams, shall be put to death; because he hath spoken to turn you away from the LORD your God, which brought you out of the land of Egypt, and redeemed you out of the house of bondage, to thrust thee out of the way which the LORD thy God commanded thee to walk in. So shalt thou put the evil away from the midst of thee (Italics mine).
Both Paul and Peter had "visions." If these visions instructed the people to turn away from the way in which God had commanded them to walk in, they were worthy of death. Therefore, if we believe that Paul and Peter wrote parts of the inspired Word of God, it is impossible that they had any authority to change the requirements of God's will either.
So who are we left with? There really is no one. No one has the authority to change what God has required. No one can change what God's written Word has stated.
So, if belonging to the family of Yeshua is determined by the observance of Torah, are you a member of His family?