"You're my friend and You are my brother
Even though You are a king
And I love You more than any other,
So much more than anything..."
A group of us were deep in study at our local House Fellowship group as part of our Lent course, looking at various names that people have used over the years for Jesus. A little light came on when the words 'my brother' came up. This brought to mind one of the verses from 'As The Deer' (lyrics by Martin J. Nystrom, verse noted above). It also planted a little thought in my head which led to this post.
Now, if I start to think about Jesus as my brother, it doesn't necessarily bring with it any pre-conceived ideas. I never had a brother or a sister when I grew up. Well, strictly that's not true. I have a half-brother and a half-sister (my dad was married and had two children with his first wife; after she passed away he married my mum and they had me). However, these two of my family were that much older than I, therefore they never grew up with me; I never developed that sort of closeness you get with siblings. So, essentially, I was raised as an only child.
Which of course means that I never climbed trees with a brother; we never had adventures together; we never went through the same life experiences together. There wasn't that brotherly bond that this term seems to imply.
So, how can I begin to identify with Jesus as 'my brother'? Perhaps I should take some examples from modern popular culture?
Bart Simpson and his sister Lisa?
Sherlock Holmes and his brother Mycroft?
Barry and Paul, The Chuckle Brothers?
Err ... perhaps not.
Well, a quick glance along my science fiction DVD shelf gives me quite a few examples of sibling relationships, unfortunately many of these don't seem to work very well either. Here's a few of the better-known ones, after a few minutes brainstorming:
Data and Lore (Star Trek: The Next Generation)
Thor and Loki (Marvel Comics)
Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch (Marvel Comics)
The Human Torch and The Invisible Woman (Marvel Comics)
Peter and Nathan Petrelli (Heroes)
Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia (Star Wars)
I guess that I have more chance of understanding this if I take a broader view of 'brotherhood'. More than just simple genetics, this sort of 'brother' would be closer than a friend, indeed becoming so trusted and so close that you would be close as a member of your own family. And closer still ... sticking together, no matter what ...
And that's the kind of relationship Jesus wanted with mankind. He gave up so much when He came down to Earth as a human being, yet He wanted to become our 'brother' so he could have a chance at achieving that sort of intimacy. Closer than just friends. Closer than shared blood lines. Closer even than shared parents. Shared lives. Walking each step of the way together.
Hebrews 2:11-12 (NIV)
Both the one who makes people holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters. He says,
“I will declare your name to my brothers and sisters;
in the assembly I will sing your praises.”
The offer is still open.
Happy Easter to you.