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Is Jesus our brother?

The Bible describes Jesus as being our brother three times: Hebrews 2:11, Romans 8:29, and Mark 3:34-35. How can Jesus be our brother if He is our Lord? Easy—He's both! Some may feel it's wrong to call Jesus our brother, but context is key in understanding these passages. Let's look a little further into the way the Bible describes Jesus as our brother.

Jesus: Our Spiritual Brother

“Both the one who makes people holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters...” —Hebrews 2:11

Hebrews 2:11 says that we are Jesus’ brothers and sisters. The word “brothers” used here can refer to blood relatives, yes, but in this context, the reference is to those who follow Christ—Christians. (Not every time we see the word “brother” does it refer to literal, DNA-sharing family.) The reason why we are called Jesus’ brothers and sisters here is due to the writer of Hebrews wanting to convey that Jesus, who is our Lord and God, is not ashamed to call us His brothers and sisters. We are all fragile, sinful, and broken human creatures, but Jesus loves us so much that He sacrificed His life so we could become His brothers and sisters (2 Corinthians 5:21).

We know that Jesus is 100% God because Jesus says that He and the Father are one (John 10:30). At the same time, God the Father is the Father of Jesus. When we become followers of Christ, we are adopted into the family Jesus belongs to. When we become adopted children of God the Father, Jesus becomes our brother. When Jesus is our brother, we can be rightly addressed as Jesus’ brothers and sisters.

Jesus' "Firstborn" Status

“For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.” —Romans 8:29

Does this reference to Jesus as the "firstborn" mean that Jesus was God’s first adoptive child? Some believe that's the case, but nope. Believing Jesus was just another human to be accepted by God totally undermines Jesus’ deity.

In Romans 8:29, the word “firstborn” does not mean a literal firstborn child. Instead, it refers to the preeminence and supremacy of Jesus. "Firstborn" is another way of referring to an exalted position. By Jesus being the preeminent Son of God, He can bring us into His family and call us brothers and sisters since we have placed faith in Him. This in no way undermines Jesus’ deity or His position in the Trinity. Jesus's obedience to God in His sacrificial death and resurrection is the reason the Father adopts us into His family to be His holy children (Philippians 2:8-11).

Following Jesus = Doing God’s Will = Being Family

"Then he looked at those seated in a circle around him and said, ‘Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.’" —Mark 3:34-35

This one is a bit different than the other two. Here, Jesus says that “whoever does God’s will” is seen as His brother, sister, or mother. How does that work? In the context of Mark 3:34-35, Jesus is teaching that, while physical, blood relatives are important, we should focus on our spiritual relationships most of all. He says that lasting relationships are spiritual relationships, meaning our relationship with God and other believers. He says the people that followed Him by doing God's will would have an eternal relationship with Him. When we surrender to God and accept His Son as our Savior and Lord, we become co-heirs with Jesus (Romans 8:17). Wow—what a deal!

The ultimate will of God is that we place faith in salvation through Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection (Romans 10:9-10) and follow Jesus' example for life. Jesus says, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me" (John 14:6).

Following Jesus includes believing, obeying, and loving God (John 14:15). We become the brothers and sisters of Jesus because of what He did for us. As we strengthen our relationship with our Heavenly Father, we will become more like Jesus with the help of the Holy Spirit. As we go forward in our lives, we can always look up to Jesus as our best example. Sounds like the perfect big Brother to me!

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TL;DR

In addition to being our Savior, Lord, and the second Person of the Trinity, Jesus is also our spiritual brother (Hebrews 2:11; Romans 8:29; Mark 3:34-35). We're called Jesus’ brothers and sisters because of His sacrifice on the cross, which made us Holy in our Heavenly Father’s eyes. Jesus, being the preeminent Son of God, invites us into His family when we place our faith in believing, following, and obeying Him (Romans 10:9-10). Once you have believed and accepted Christ, you become a child of the Father and, therefore, a brother or sister of Jesus. While Jesus is our brother, He is still our holy God and Savior (John 10:30).

By: Vivian Bricker

Vivian loves learning, studying the Word of God, and helping others in their walk with Christ. She is dedicated to helping people learn more about Jesus and is ready to help in any way she can. Her favorite things to do are spending time with her family and friends, cooking, drawing, and spending time outside. When she is not writing, you can find her soaking up the sunshine or going on an adventure.

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