Hello, I’m Daniel Westfall on the channel “Pray With Me”.
Hebrews 2 presents God as a family man, stating,
In bringing many sons and daughters to glory,
it was fitting that God . . .
should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through suffering.
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 (Heb. 2:10-12).
To evangelical ears, the term “Father God” sounds normal, but saying “Brother Jesus” sounds a bit weird. And churches where they call each other “Brother Bill” and “Sister Sarah” strike us as a bit affected. If I called my siblings “Brother Steve” and “Sister Ruth”, I think they’d refer me to a psychiatrist.
While it is true that people at church are my siblings (because God is our father and Jesus calls us brothers and sisters) I still don’t invite them all to my house Christmas morning, and I do encourage them to cook their own turkey at home. I have separate compartments in life for my birth family and my church family. At the door between those two families, I have a surveillance camera and an armed guard.
Yet, there is crossover between the two. Because the word “family” explains something important about my relationship to God, Jesus, and fellow Christians. God wants me to connect with them and show some responsibility and love. God wants me to share life with his people instead of self-isolating in front of the computer.
Hebrews describes Jesus’ relationship with his brothers and sisters this way:
Since [God’s] children have flesh and blood,
Jesus too shared in their humanity
so that by death he might break the power. . .of death. . .
and free those who all their lives were slaves
to the fear of death (Heb 2:14-15).
Jesus was born into the human family, taking on flesh and blood and human culture. He experienced death to free his family from the fear of death.
On a personal level, Jesus wants me, as his brother, to be free from the fear of death. My first fears are the little deaths that threaten me daily–a lack of status and respect that makes me feel inferior, a mediocre spiritual life that doesn’t visibly demonstrate my identity as God’s son and Jesus’ brother, a disappointing church life that is often more duty than family, more obligation than participation. Sludge and drudge instead of ladders and open windows.
Perhaps when Jesus invites me to carry my cross, it looks like this: to die to the narrow view I have constructed of a successful Christian life, to perform small acts of kindness in Jesus’ name, to live graciously in the community of my brothers and sisters, and eventually, like Jesus, to die unknown and uncelebrated.
After all, belonging to God’s family means I follow Jesus in life and in death.
Father, our view of family is that if we are children of the king and siblings of your son, we are princes and princesses. Surely you want your royal family to be wealthy and happy, to live with style and status. Don’t you?
Or did you send Jesus to die, and did he invite us to carry a cross? Did he associate with an unsavory crowd of common people, and love them with his life? Help us then to follow in his footsteps.
I’m Daniel on the channel “Pray with Me”.