Jesus Our Brother
We are familiar with the Bible’s teaching about God being our Father. Jesus taught us to pray, “Our Father who art in heaven” (Matthew 6:9), and Paul told us we have “one God and Father of all” (Ephesians 4:6). Are we as familiar with the Bible’s teaching about Jesus being our brother? Hebrews 2:11-12 states: “For both He who sanctifies and those who are being sanctified are all of one, for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren, saying: ‘I will declare Your name to My brethren; In the midst of the assembly I will sing praise to You.’” We often refer to the church as the family of God, and it is, but what does it mean that Jesus is our brother? Let’s study this relationship and notice a few answers to this question.
To have Jesus as our brother means that He claims those who have been sanctified as His family. Paul discussed this relationship in Galatians 3:26-29: “For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” Paul begins by pointing out that we are children of God in Christ Jesus. We became such children by going through the new birth in baptism (John 3:3-6). At that point, we became sanctified (1 Corinthians 6:11) and Christ became our identity, and just as Christ is God’s child, so also, we become children of God. This means that we are all part of Abraham’s family now, and brothers and sisters with Jesus. Romans 8:17a states, “and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ.” It is a wonderful blessing to have family!
To have Jesus as our brother means that He seeks fellowship with us. If you have ever had a brother or sister growing up, then you know that this was the person with whom you spent the most time. He or she was your friend and constant companion since you lived together in the same family. However, while many natural brothers and sisters eventually grow apart and go their own ways, Jesus is a brother that stays with us always because He desires to stay with us. In 1 Corinthians 1:9, Paul wrote, “God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord,” and in Hebrews 13:5-6 we read, “Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’ So we may boldly say: ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?’” Indeed, Jesus said, “I am with you always” (Matthew 28:20). Having Jesus as a brother means having a constant friend and companion.
To have Jesus as our brother means that He experienced the same human passions that we experience. Life can be tumultuous. There are many troubles and trials that will come our way, and our emotions can be overwhelming. Loss of employment, separated friendships, the death of our loved ones, and our own sinscan bring us great grief and sorrow. Sometimes we wonder, “Does anyone truly understand?” Jesus is our true brother because He completely understands what we go through in this life. Hebrews 4:15 states, “For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin,” and Hebrews 2:17-18 states, “Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted.” Having Jesus as a brother means that someone truly understands what we are going through.
To have Jesus as our brother means that He was subjected to death. We must all face the specter of death within our lives. It begins by seeing the death of our loved ones, but ultimately it is something that we must face individually. Having Jesus as a brother means that we have someone who helps us do what no other can—overcome death. Hebrews 2:9 says, “But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone.” He experienced death for everyone so that He would know what it is like to die, but more than this, so that He could show us that death can be conquered. Hebrews 2:14-15 states, “Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.” Because Jesus was sinless, death could not hold on to Him, and He came forth from the grave (Acts 2:24). Today, through Jesus, we can conquer death as well. Jesus says, “I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death” (Revelation 1:18), and “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes shall not be hurt by the second death” (Revelation 2:11). Only the best of brothers would die for us so that we could live for Him (2 Corinthians 5:15).