For everyone with a close family member who is not a follower of Christ, Dr. Luke has included a wonderful surprise in the first chapter of Acts. Among those gathered for prayer in the days after Jesus ascended to heaven, Luke mentioned Mary, the mother of Jesus, and His brothers (Acts 1:14).

These same brothers grew up with Jesus in Nazareth (Mt. 13:54-55). They came to take charge of Jesus during His early ministry because they mistakenly thought He was out of His mind (Mk. 3:21,31-32). And they sarcastically urged Jesus to launch His “career” in Jerusalem even though they refused to believe in Him (Jn. 7:1-5).

Like many households today, Jesus’ own family was divided by the issue of belief in Him. Our Lord experienced the heartache, misunderstanding, and even conflict that can result when families are divided over matters of faith. But at some point, though we are not told when, the brothers of Jesus came to believe in Him as their Lord and Messiah.

We can’t compel our families to receive our Savior, but we can continue to love and pray for them. And we can remain confident that in God’s providence wonderful surprises still happen.