Older Brother, Unashamed

“…Therefore Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters…” Hebrews 2:11

God spoke this little portion of a verse to me one morning this week as I got ready for the day. I had been feeling low lately, doubting myself, and recognizing the dark storm clouds of shame blowing ever nearer my heart.

As I dressed, I heard the verse repeated and personalized. The words were like a special message for my soul.

Jesus is not ashamed to call you his brother.

Jesus is not ashamed to call you his brother.

Jesus is not ashamed to call you his brother.

Jesus, the true fulfillment of the Older Brother in the Prodigal Son story, would have partied and celebrated and embraced the younger brother who was restored back to relationship with the Father. And for good reason: Jesus Himself was the one who, by his own suffering, facilitated that very restoration and glorious reunion (Hebrews 2:10-11a). Jesus got very low in order to bring his little brothers and sisters into an exalted position in the family of God.

So, no, he’s not ashamed to call them his brothers and sisters.

When I am embarrassed by someone or simply don’t want to be seen with them, I will go out of my way to avoid them. I certainly won’t call out to them or draw attention to the fact I know them. If asked about the nature of my relationship, I might tend to downplay it or deny it altogether. If I must own up to knowing them, I’ll do so cringingly and in language that distances myself in the relationship as much as possible.

Jesus has every right to be embarrassed by me, but he’s not. He shouts across the room, “Hey, I know you!” then closes the distance and stands by me. There’s no scandal in his mind if someone snaps a picture showing us together. Actually, it would be just like him to flag someone down to take the photo while he puts his arm around my shoulder. He acts altogether unashamed because he is in fact unashamed.

Have you ever been at work or in a group of friends when someone brings up the name of a person, referring to them as “your guy”, “your girl”, “your boy,” or something similar? “Hey, what’s up with your boy lately?” “Did you hear what your girl did yesterday?” In this context, they are usually drawing attention to something embarrassing that person’s did or said, and at the same time associating that person with you as if their behavior reflects on you by association.

Jesus is happy to call me “his guy” – or to be more strictly biblical, “his brother.” He, without flinching or blushing, owns the relationship with me. He celebrates it, in fact. For in “owning” me as his brother, he has accomplished the very work he came to do. He has made me at peace with the Father. He has secured my rights as co-inheritor of all that God has. He has brought me near. He has paid my adoption fee. I am his, and he is mine.

This calls for a brotherly fist-bump.

Jesus is my Bro, and I mean that in the most respectful, theological, and biblical way possible. The relational closeness and familiarity embedded in that statement is meant to deepen yours and my wonder and gratitude at the grace of God, not cheapen it. It is meant to encourage unfettered joy in the presence of a Savior who feels no shame by our association. It is meant to remind our hearts of the warm affection he has for us.

God knew I needed that reminder this week and so spoke these words to me anew.

Jesus is not ashamed to call you his brother.

Thank you, Brother.

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