Hebrews 2:11-12 Both the one who makes men holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers. He says, “I will declare your name to my brothers; in the presence of the congregation I will sing your praises.”
It is interesting that the Scripture quoted by the author of Hebrews here is from Psalm 22 – the Psalm that Jesus himself claimed, while hanging in agony on the Cross, to be HIS very own, with the words, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”. He was suffering there in his full humanity, as a man, as one of us, bearing the full weight of our sin in order to protect us from the impact of the wrath of God that our sin deserves. Jesus suffered as one of us, as our blood brother.
The author will go on to say, “We do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathise with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are – yet was without sin.” (4:15). We sometimes read of siblings, particularly of identical twins, who actually feel each other’s physical pain and other sensations. This is how it was for Jesus. “It was my sin that held him there until it was accomplished; his dying breath has brought me life – I know that it is finished” (Stuart Townend).
A significant corollary of this is that, because his is our brother, we all become part of the ‘same family’! Do we see ourselves as ‘brothers’ and ‘sisters’ in Christ? Do we continually ‘look out’ for one another, especially a ‘brother’ or ‘sister’ who might be going through a particularly hard time or facing a particular need we could help meet?
Do we take comfort in our belonging to a ‘family’ of believers when we are feeling lonely or isolated? Can we always depend on one another when we are in need of a bit of acceptance, forgiveness or understanding if we have failed to live up to expectations? Our relationship in the family of believers is a gracious provision God has made for us to benefit and bless us: “Sing to God, sing praise to his name, extol him who rides on the clouds – his name is the LORD – and rejoice before him. A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling. God sets the lonely in families, he leads forth the prisoners with singing; but the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land” (Psalm 68:4-6).
Let us not ignore such a wonderful provision, either as givers or receivers!
– Bruce Christian