It blows my mind to think about it: The eternal Son of God doesn’t want me (only) as a servant; He wants me as His friend!
When I (re)discovered this, I figured it couldn’t get any better. But then I read Jesus’ response to His family in Mark 3: While Jesus is speaking, His mother and brothers arrive to take Him away because they think He’s out of His mind. (Talk about being misunderstood by your own family!) When someone tells Jesus that His mother and brothers have come, Jesus asks, “‘Who are my mother and my brother?’ …Then He look[s] at those seated in a circle around Him and [says], ‘Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.’”
If I’m in the circle around Jesus, metaphorically speaking, and I desire to do God’s will – loving Him and loving others – then I can consider Jesus my Brother! The apostles Paul and John affirm this when they refer to Christians as God’s children. If Jesus is God’s Son and Christians can be named adopted sons and daughters of God, then it logically follows that Jesus is our Brother (or, more accurately, our step-Brother). Indeed, Paul explicitly uses the word brother when he writes that the Son is “the firstborn of many brothers and sisters.” Referring to the sons and daughters of God, the writer of Hebrews declares, “Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters.”
Considering how I come from an imperfect home with imperfect siblings, thinking of Jesus as a brother offers me profound hope. I’ve never been close with my biological older brothers. Jesus invites me to find in Him the kind of Brother I never had – a Brother who is strong yet gentle, brilliant yet patient, always present and caring. Similar to the experiences of a lot of people with older siblings, Jesus gives me advice; He looks out for me, especially when I’m in trouble; He holds on to me when I’m scared. And perhaps like some older brothers with their parents and siblings, Jesus acts as a go-between in my relationship with my heavenly Father. Paul and the author of Hebrews (here and here) refer to this aspect of Jesus’ work as being a Mediator, but it’s also something brothers might do in their families.
There’s an old saying that you can choose you friends, but you can’t choose your family. This does not apply to my divine Brother. God chose to adopt me into His family and, through His death and resurrection, Jesus made it happen. Jesus didn’t “get stuck” with me as a younger brother; He initiated the process that made it possible in the first place! Now I am blessed with having a Member in my family who wants me and who never fails or lets me down.
Jesus remains and always will be my Saviour and King. I thank Him for His sacrifice and I want to live for Him. But I am so very grateful for how I’m perceiving Him afresh as my Friend and my Brother, Someone who lavishes love on me in ways I can never measure.
You’re my Friend and You are my Brother
even though You are a King.
I love You more than any other,
so much more than anything.
– from “As the Deer” by Marty Nystrom