Christ Our Brother

Share

“He is not ashamed to call them brothers, saying,
‘I will tell of your name to my brothers; in the midst of the congregation I will sing your praise.’”
Hebrews 2:11–12

 

Do you remember the brothers in the “parable of the Prodigal son” in Luke 15?

The younger brother returns after shamefully disrespecting the family, taking part of the family inheritance to eat and drink to his heart’s content and party with prostitutes. After a short time, he is bankrupt and has no choice but to return to his father. And instead of receiving what he deserves, he is met with grace, compassion, and reconciliation.

But not from the older brother.

The older brother is jealous, scornful, and ashamed of his younger brother.

In many ways, we can relate, can’t we? The older brother has disciplined himself, worked hard, followed orders. He is the model of a good employee. On the other hand, the younger son is irresponsible and has squandered the family fortune. What is worse, he doesn’t even get a slap on the hand. Not even a mere scolding. It’s simply not fair.

Surely there is no justice here.

At best, the younger brother should be treated as a servant—it’s what he was expecting. He should be scolded and lectured. He should spend time paying back the family. If he is truly repentant, he won’t mind proving it. In the meantime, he deserves nothing but suspicion.

If I can be honest for a minute, my inclination is to be more like the older brother, standing in judgement rather than lavishing grace.

This story leaves us longing for a better older brother, doesn’t it? Jesus is nothing like this brother.

“He is not ashamed to call them brothers.”

Jesus, too, has a “younger brother” who has erred. But Jesus says to the Father, “I will go to my brother. I will travel to a distant land. I will seek him out. And I will do it at a cost to myself.” From heaven he comes to seek out his lost brother, kisses him, lifts him out of the filth, tenderly places him on his shoulders, and carries him home. He robes him in his own righteousness. He intercedes for him. He reconciles—returning the younger brother into the arms of the Father. And he is not content that his brother be treated as a servant: “This is my brother, all that is mine is his. Let’s celebrate. For this brother of mine was lost, but now is found.”

As Clive Bowsher so beautifully says, “Jesus doesn’t just whisper that you’re his brother or sister. He writes it large across the pages of the New Testament. He’s never ashamed to look you in the eye and say, ‘You’re family.’”[1]

Christ is not ashamed to call you brother. To call you sister. To call you family. He has joined you to himself and brought you into the same affectionate embrace that he enjoys with the Father. What a gloriously attractive God. What a friend. What a brother!

Christ Our Bread


 

This article was originally published as “What a gloriously attractive God” in Evangelicals Now (December 2023).

[1] Clive Bowsher, One: Being United to Jesus Changes Everything (Bridgend, UK: Union Publishing, 2023), 105.

Picture of Chance Faulkner

Chance Faulkner

Chance Faulkner (@chancefaulkner) manages Union Publishing and oversees the content across all the ministries at Union. He holds an undergraduate degree in Theological Studies from Toronto Baptist Seminary and Bible College and is a Master of Theology candidate at Union School of Theology. He is a Jr. Fellow of The Andrew Fuller Center for Baptist Studies and the co-founder of H&E Publishing.
Picture of Chance Faulkner

Chance Faulkner

Chance Faulkner (@chancefaulkner) manages Union Publishing and oversees the content across all the ministries at Union. He holds an undergraduate degree in Theological Studies from Toronto Baptist Seminary and Bible College and is a Master of Theology candidate at Union School of Theology. He is a Jr. Fellow of The Andrew Fuller Center for Baptist Studies and the co-founder of H&E Publishing.