Have you ever been ashamed to call someone a member of your family? Maybe it was in high school, when your parents came to a school function: you probably acted like they didn’t exist. Or the times in high school when you thought your parents were the dumbest people on earth, and you told everyone about it. In both of these cases, you were showing, in action, that you were ashamed to call them your parents.
Since we are created in God’s image and are all sinners by nature, we really don’t have any right to be ashamed of calling someone a member of our family. In fact, we should be amazed that anyone wants us to be in their family.
Jesus, the holy and sinless Son of God, is not ashamed to call His disciples brothers and sisters. He says we are part of His family.
Not Ashamed to Call us Brothers
Hebrews 2:11 says that Jesus is “not ashamed to call us brothers.”
The first two chapters of Hebrews make the point that Jesus is better than the angels. In light of that, these words are more staggering. Jesus is not ashamed to call me His brother. If you are in Him, He is not ashamed to call you His brother or sister.
What is stunning about this is that it has absolutely nothing to do with us: who we are, or what we have done. Jesus chooses to do this willingly; we did not earn it; He gave us this awesome privilege.
In Hebrews 2:14-18 we see what Jesus has done for us so that we can be called His brothers.
- He came and took on our flesh. We call this the incarnation. The second person of the Trinity, the Son of God, came and took on our humanity. Why? To redeem us and to call us His family.
- He died to destroy the power of death and to deliver us from the fear of death.
- He is our faithful high priest.
- He is the propitiation for our sins. He took the wrath of God that we rightly and justly deserved.
- He is able to help us in our weaknesses because He suffered when He was tempted.
This is what Jesus has done. But just as important is the picture of who Christ is in chapter one.
Our Glorious Brother
Hebrews 1 is full of truth about who Jesus is. Dr. Albert Mohler lists these ten truths in his commentary:
- The Son of God
- The revelation of God
- The fulfillment of God’s revelation in the Old Testament
- The heir of all things
- The agent of creation
- The radiance of God’s glory
- The expression of God’s nature
- The preserver of all creation
- The purifier of God’s people
- The mediator for God’s people
This is the person of Christ. This is the one who is not ashamed to call us brothers: The Son of God, the creator and preserver of the world, the final word of God, the way to see God’s nature and glory. This glorious Savior stoops to my level and calls me brother.
I Have Given Him Every Reason to be Ashamed
When I compare myself to Christ, His person and His work, I begin to understand that I have given Him every reason to be ashamed of me.
I am the Pharisee, wanting to know why Jesus is having dinner with tax collectors and sinners. I am the thief on the cross, sneeringing and mocking Him. I am part of the Israelites, the people of God, cowering in fear of Goliath: doing nothing to defend God's honor and glory against an uncircumcised Philistine.
I am Peter, denying my Lord after swearing my allegiance to Him unto death. I am Eve, willing to take the fruit, thinking it will make me wiser than God.
I have given Jesus every reason to be ashamed of me. But He still chooses to call me His brother.
All of Grace
But I am also the sinner Jesus wants to have dinner with. Jesus comes to me and restores the relationship that I had broken through my sin.
This privilege, of being called His brother, is all of grace and mercy. Out of His great love, God sent Jesus to redeem the people He chose for Himself before the foundation of the world (Eph. 1:4). He sent Christ and adopted me through Him (Eph. 1:5). I am a beloved child of God (Eph. 5:1) and it is all because of grace (Eph. 2:8-9).
The only thing I brought to this situation was the sin that needed to be forgiven, the sin that should make Jesus ashamed to call me His brother.
But Jesus is tender and merciful.
Even when I sin now, He comes to me and restores me to the family. He does not take away my brotherhood with Him, but restores it. Jesus is so great! He is wonderful! And the author of Hebrews would want us to say that He is better than anything else we could ever imagine.
Jesus is better. Jesus is greater. Jesus calls me His brother.