Jesus Is Our Brother
by Joel Hemphill
“For whom he [God] did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren” (Rom. 8:29).
“And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven. Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ” (Matt. 23:9-10).
Jesus never claimed to be our “heavenly Father.” He is our brother. The following is written to prove from Scripture that very important truth.
“I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee...” [God to Moses] (Deut. 18:18).
[Philip to Nathanael concerning Jesus] “We have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets did write...” (John 1:45).
[Peter regarding Jesus] “For Moses truly said unto the fathers, a Prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me...”(Acts 3:22).
[Stephen preaching Jesus] “This is that Moses, which said...a Prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren...” (Acts 7:37).
[Jesus] “For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brothe, and sister, and mother” (Matt. 12:50).
[Jesus] “And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me” (Matt. 25:40).
[Jesus] “...my brethren are these which hear the word of God, and do it” (Luke 8:21).
[Jesus to Mary at the tomb] “...but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God” (John 20:17).
“For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he [Jesus] is not ashamed to call them brethren, Saying, I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I [Jesus] sing praise unto thee [God]” (Heb. 2:11-12).
“Wherefore in all things it behooved him to be made like unto his brethren...to make reconciliation for the sins of the people” (Heb. 2:17).
Joint-heirs with Christ
The apostle Paul has much to say in Romans chapter eight, regarding Christians being “children” or “sons” of God.
“For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. ...ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba Father. ...we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together” (Rom. 8:14-17).
The word Paul uses for “joint-heirs” is “sugkleronomos” in the Greek (Strongs #4789), and it means “a co-heir, i.e. participant in common: - fellow heir, heir together, heir with.” This is the same word Paul uses in Ephesians 3:6 when he speaks of the “mystery” that was previously hidden:
“That the Gentiles should be fellow heirs [with Israel], and of the same body, and partakers of his [God’s] promise in Christ by the Gospel” (Eph. 3:6).
This is the same Greek word (sugkleronomos) that Peter uses in I Peter 3:7 when he says that husbands and wives should live together peaceably, “as being heirs together of the grace of life.”
Please accept the fact that the only way we as Christians can be co-heirs - fellow heirs - heirs in common, with Christ, is if he [Jesus] is our brother. Of course, as our elder brother [“the firstborn among many brethren” Rom. 8:29], under God’s rules of inheritance, Jesus receives the double portion of glory, rulership, etc. In fact our sonship is based solely on our being in Christ Jesus and partakers of his Sonship. Listen to Paul again:
“And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba Father. Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ” (Gal. 4:6-7).
A very important key to understanding this is what the apostle John writes concerning Jesus’ glory. Notice closely his words in John 1:14:
“And we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father....”
This is Jesus’ glory! Now study closely Jesus’ words to the Father [as recorded by John] in John 17:21-23:
“That they all may be one; as thou Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us.... And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them: that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may know that thou hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.” Wow! What is that again precious Jesus?
“Father...thou hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.”
John sheds more light regarding our sonship in I John 3:1-3:
“Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God.... Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear [our Father, God], we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure” (I John 3:1-3). Compare this with Jesus’ words in Matthew 5:8, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” (See also Rev. 1:4; 1:8; 4:8; 11:17; 16:5; “...which is to come”).