"Thou hast given a banner to them that fear Thee, that it may be displayed because of the truth" (Ps. 60:4).
Christ, Our Brother
By Sara Stoner
Hebrews 2:11-12 “For both He that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of One: for which cause He is not ashamed to call them brethren, saying, ‘I will declare Thy name unto My brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto Thee’”.
Paul is laying out the case to the Hebrew believers for who Jesus Christ is, although in chapter one he does not mention Him by name. He is the Son of God, heir of all things, creator of the worlds, the brightness of the Father’s glory, the express image of His person, the one who holds everything together by the word of His power. He alone purged our sins from us and took His seat at the right hand of power of the Majesty on high. He is the first begotten of the Father, who when coming into the world as a babe was worshipped by angels. He is the One who is exalted on high because He made Himself very low. And this One who is so highly exalted is not ashamed to call those who are also born of God, brethren.
So how is it that Jesus Christ can call us brethren? Firstly, He had to be a partaker of flesh and blood as you and I are. “For verily He took not on Him the nature of angels, but He took on Him the seed of Abraham”. Abraham is the father of all those who have faith. Notice the Apostle did not say, ‘He took on Him the seed of Adam’, for Jesus had no earthly father from Adam’s lineage, for God was His Father. He took on Himself flesh and blood, but did not inherit Adam’s sinful nature. He had to be a partaker of flesh and blood so that He could die; “that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is the devil, and deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage” (Heb. 2:15). The Apostle Paul writes to the Philippians about Christ Jesus who was equal with God, yet “emptied Himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (Phil. 2: 7-8 ESV). It was only by this means our redemption could be accomplished. Our Lord had to become man that He might redeem men. Sin came into the world by one man, Adam. By one man, Christ Jesus, sin was taken away.
How is it He can call us brethren? We had to be made His brethren. Brothers are so because they have the same parent. In other words, we had to be born of God. We had to have a death and new birth, a birth in the Spirit. “And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness (Rom. 8:10). We are brethren of Christ’s because we have repented and received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, “Abba, Father”. (Rom. 8:14-17) The Spirit witnesses with our spirit that we are the children of God. He is not ashamed to call us brethren because He that sanctifies (Christ) and they who are sanctified (those who believe in Him) are all of God.
Jesus came to declare the Father’s name unto His brethren. Declaring His name is, in essence, declaring His person. Jesus declared the nature of God, His attributes, His mind, His will, His words and His works. Christ’s very person manifested God to men. Jesus said to Philip, “He that has seen Me has seen the Father” “Believest thou not that I am in the Father and the Father in Me?” (John 14: 9-10). John testified this of Him: “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we behold His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth” (John 1:14). What did John see? He saw a man who did many miracles, healing all that were oppressed of the devil. He saw one who had compassion on the ignorant and those out of the way, yet one who could slay His enemies with the rod of His mouth. He saw one teaching the kingdom of heaven, and rewarding faith in whomsoever He found it. He saw a man who did all that the Father would have Him do. And He saw Him crucified, buried, raised and ascended that He might bring many sons to glory. This was the heart of the Father manifested in the Person of the Lord, Jesus Christ.
While our Lord was here, He addressed those who believed in Him as brothers. There was a time when Jesus was teaching the people and “His mother and brothers stood outside, asking to speak to Him. But He replied to the man who told Him, ‘Who is My mother and who are My brothers?’ And stretching out His hand toward His disciples, He said, ‘Here are my mother and my brothers! For whoever does the will of My Father in heaven is My brother and sister and mother” (Matt. 12:46-50 ESV). Many times over in the Sermon on the Mount and at other times He spoke to those who heard His words of ‘your Father’, in effect bringing them into fellowship with Himself. “Let your light shine before men that they may see it and give glory to your Father who is in heaven” (5:18). “Take no thought what you shall eat or drink or what you shall wear. Your heavenly Father knows you have need of these things” (6:32). “You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (5:48). “But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who sees in secret will reward you.” (6:6). “Pray Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name” (6:9). “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. Fear not, therefore you are of more value than many sparrows” (10:29,31). And in many similar things He spoke, bringing an awareness of God as their Father to His disciples.
Jesus, addressing Mary Magdalene in the garden immediately after His resurrection, said these precious words, “Touch Me not; for I am not yet ascended to My Father: but go to My brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto My Father, and your Father, and to My God and your God” (John 20:17). To the women who came to the tomb He said, “Be not afraid: go tell My brethren that they go into Galilee, and there shall they see Me” (Matt. 28:10). Jesus is the first born among many brethren. What a blessed privilege to be called Jesus’ brethren!
"Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning; and ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord, when he will return from the wedding; that when he cometh and knocketh, they may open unto him immediately" (Lk. 12:35-36).