Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Best Brother Anyone Could Have

Growing up with a brother or sister or both can be quite a competitive venture. Most of us don’t even mean for competition to happen; it just develops naturally. Some sibling rivalries are legendary.

For those who are blessed to have a brother or sister, often it seems that there is not much middle ground: Either you have a wonderful relationship, or you struggle to have a good relationship with your sibling. Imagine having the best possible brother you could have. What would that look like? Well, if you’re a follower of Jesus, you have just that.

We often think of God as our perfect Father, and we should. But do we realize how vibrant is the picture of Jesus as our brother? The Scriptures say this in several ways. Jesus is the best big brother anyone could ever imagine.

We have previously seen that the basic idea throughout the book of Hebrews is that Jesus is better than everyone and everything. In Hebrews 2.10-18 the writer shows that Jesus is the best brother anyone could have. You can see the family theme in this text in these words:

  • Verse 10: “sons”
  • Verse 11: “one Father…brothers”
  • Verse 12: “brothers”
  • Verse 13: “children God gave Me”
  • Verse 14: “children”
  • Verse 17: “like his brothers”

With this backdrop of a spiritual family in view, we see Jesus on display as the best possible older brother, and that principle has its effect in a few ways.

Having the Son of God as my brother means that I have an eternal family. (vv. 10-13)

As Jesus’ perfection was shown to be complete through His suffering, God’s word says that He brings many sons to glory, and they are tied together with Him not only in His suffering, but also in His future glory. Jesus isn’t ashamed to call them brothers, the spiritual and eternal family who God the Father gave to His Son. This is also reminiscent of Ephesians 3.14-15:

For this reason I kneel before the Father from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named. (HCSB)

We have been adopted into the family of God by grace through faith. And because of His suffering for us, He calls us His brothers and sisters in the eternal family.

Having the Son of God as my brother means that I have a powerful representative. (vv. 14-16)

Growing up, it was always a relief when my older brother represented me before others. I knew he would look out for me. Imagine, though, what it’s like to have the Son of God as your big Brother. He always looks out for you in ways that you haven’t even imagined. Verses 14-15 say that He looks out for us so much that He even destroyed the Devil on our behalf. He didn’t do this for angels—He did it for His brothers and sisters (v. 16). Paul says in Romans:

For those He foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brothers. (Romans 8.29, HCSB)

He is not ashamed to call us family, and as the firstborn Brother, he is pleased to look out for us in every way.

Having the Son of God as my brother means that I have the ultimate advocate. (vv. 16-18)

What if your brother not only looked out for you, but also even stood in your place before a holy God? And took the punishment that was due you? That’s what Jesus did for His brothers and sisters. He took our place, and took on Him the wrath that we would have had to take (propitiation). He became like us and was then tested and suffered, so that He would be able to help us. If we trust in Him and do His will, He calls us family:

Whoever does the will of God is My brother and sister and mother. (Mark 3.35, HCSB)

What an amazing Brother that Jesus is to those who believe!