There’s Nothing Like A Big Brother
The Lord is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life, of whom shall I be afraid?
In the closing pages of Harper Lee’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, young Jem Flinch escorts his sister, Scout, home from the Halloween party. As they walk through the woods in the darkness, a deranged man attacks the little girl. Jem throws himself at the attacke. In the melee, Jem is thrown to the ground and breaks his arm.
This classic story of a noble, single-parent attorney and his rambunctious kids captured hearts of generations of readers and movie fans, in part because it depicts the warmth and loyal love of an older brother for his sister. We all long for an older brother like Jem to give us wisdom, protect us, and get us our of trouble (or most of it, anyway), and we have one. David’s confident assertion is that God is our light and our strength. With Him by our side, we won’t wilt in fear when we’re threatened.
David, we should remember, had plenty to fear. Family and friends betrayed him, King Saul attacked him and chased him over the desert, and David found himself close to death on many occasions. But through it all, the Lord led him, provided for him, and protected him.
What threatens you and me today? When we feel hurried and harried and we believe that no one else understands or cares, we can remember how Jem took care of Scout, and even more, how God took care of David. Worry is stewing without doing. It’s interest paid on trouble which never comes due.
For both He who sanctifies and those who are sanctified are all from one Father; for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren, saying,
“I will proclaim Your name to My brethren,
In the midst of the congregation I will sing Your praise.”
The writer of Hebrews reminds us that we have an “elder brother” in Christ and like Jem, He is always looking out for us, protecting us, giving us advice and help when we need it. Scripture tells us that He took on the form of a human and lived as a human for 33 years. He walked as human, ate, slept and lived as an ordinary human and I have no doubt that if there’s anyone who understands us and cares about us it’s Him. The Bible says that He was tempted in everything and overcame so that we would be made more than conquerors. What an amazing big brother thing that is. The very idea that Christ would act as our buffer when the tempter comes knocking is incredible.
Those who have had an earthly big brother know the benefit and blessing of having someone to look out for them, to take care of bullies, and to make sure we get home safe. And Christ does all that and more for each of the children of His Father.
How then do we get to have the privilege of such a blessing? It’s really simple. When we come to the Father and ask to become one of His children, we get adopted into the family and our Elder Brother, Christ is more than glad to have us as His siblings.
Paul as he is writing to the Romans describes our adoption:
“ For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading again to fear [of God’s judgment], but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons [the Spirit producing sonship] by which we [joyfully] cry, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit Himself testifies confirms together with our spirit [assuring us] that we [believers] are children of God. And if [we are His] children, [then we are His] heirs also: heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ [sharing His spiritual blessing and inheritance], if indeed we share in His suffering so that we may also share in His glory.”
If then we are the children of God, then Christ is our elder brother and we take hope and comfort in knowing that as such, He is always by our side. How blessed we are to have such a blessing as this.
There are many Christians who view Christ as a taskmaster rather than an elder brother. They live their lives driven to preform at some perceived level that they think is expected or demanded by Christ. Sure older brothers raise the standard high and sure they may sometimes seem a little too bossy but one thing is sure, they always want the best for us even if they have to push us toward it. Christ never operates out of selfish ambition and anytime He pushes He does so gently and for our good.
In Romans, Paul says that our adoption is not in the spirit of fearful slavery but sonship that causes us to “joyfully cry, ‘Abba Father.’ This certainly isn’t the picture of an unwilling servant yielding out of fear to a stern master but the picture of a little child running joyfully toward his father, leaping up in his arms, and being drawn close in an embrace of love. That’s the picture God wants painted.
No dried up religion, no burdensome rituals that have no meaning, no striving to make the grade, but a younger sibling running and playing and hanging out with and imitating that elder brother that is admired, and loved.
I hope that today if you haven’t found such a connection with Christ, you will seek for it. There’s no hindrance on God’s part. He’s ready for you. The adoption papers have been drawn up. The Father and the elder brother have signed them. It’s up to you whether you will accept the adoption, become part of the family, and enjoy having such a Father and Brother. We don’t have to wait for heaven. We can have this relationship now.
John says it this way:
See what an incredible quality of love the Father has shown to us, that we would [be permitted to] be named called counted the children of God! And so we are! For this reason the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. Beloved, we are [even here and] now children of God, and it is not yet made clear what we will be [after His coming]. We know that when He comes is revealed, we will [as His children] be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is [in all His glory]. And everyone who has this hope [confidently placed] in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure (holy, undefiled, guiltless).
1 John 3: 1-3
So go ahead, hold out your hand to your Brother. Let Him take it and walk through this journey with You! You’ll be glad you did.
Dr. John Thompson