The Prodigal Sons: The True Older Brother
I am the oldest of eight children. Sometimes I set the right example for my siblings and sometimes I did not. Sometimes I took responsibility as the eldest and sometimes I did not. Some of my brothers and sisters have lived consistent Christian lives and some have not. I am ashamed that I did not do a better job witnessing to my siblings, encouraging them and setting a better example for them. I know one older brother who did everything right in his own family and in his extended family. His name is Jesus and if you have never thought of him as your older brother, read on…
Monday…Hebrews 2:11 is a meaningful passage which tells us, among other things, that Jesus is not ashamed to identify himself as the Christian’s “brother.” What a powerful statement! Jesus calls imperfect humans his brothers and sisters. Let that marinate for a few moments and realize that Christ Jesus, who is God in the flesh, is not ashamed to have a familial relationship with you…and with me. The church, not the building but the people, is best understood as a family. Read on…
Tuesday…God is our Father (Romans 8:15; Galatians 4:4). God is also identified as “Father” in the Trinitarian relationship. Jesus has the title “Son” in that same relationship. If God is our Father and Jesus has the same Father (I know…I know…the relationship between the members of the Godhead and the relationship we have with God is not exactly the same), then Christ is our brother. Do you see how much more Christianity is than just a list of rules?
Wednesday…In the story of the Prodigal Son it is to be noted that the lost brother should have been pursued by his older brother. That responsibility was abdicated by the older brother because he did not really care about his younger brother. He cared only for what was coming to him financially. Jesus as our ‘older brother’ cares for us and seeks us out. What a difference! The Good Shepherd (same chapter…Luke 15) goes after the lost sheep. There is a wealth of material on humanity being pursued by God and loved by God. Jesus, the perfect older brother, takes on the responsibility (and sometimes the heartache) of pursuing the lost. When you have your next opportunity to witness to someone, remind them that God loves them and that Jesus loves them and that they can join the forever family of God by accepting what the older brother has done for them on the cross.
Thursday…Please read Romans 8:29 and be reminded that Jesus is the “firstborn among many brothers and sisters.” Do not be led astray by the word, “firstborn”. That Greek word can also mean the “first in line/the most important”. Do you see? Again, we are reminded that Jesus is the brother to all Christians…the older, most important brother. Mark 3:34,35 also teach us that Jesus wishes to be identified as a brother to all believers. Read the story behind Mark 3:34,35…you will be blessed as you see and hear Jesus identify with those who would follow him.
Friday…We have seen that Christians are part of a family. We have the same Father, the same older Brother, the same name, the same “bloodline”, the same goals, the same purpose(s), etc. We identify each other as brothers and sisters. And, some wonderful day, we will all live together in the same “house.” What a thought! What a Savior!
by Dale Holzbauer