Links Daily Devotional

Jesus, Our Brother

Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. (Hebrews 2:17, ESV)

There is something about the game of golf that brings our visions of grandeur to a sharp stop. We cannot hide a poor area of our game in a drawer since the game is played with others and before others. Instead we are often stung with public humiliation, making us feel like a wriggling worm in the dust. Then there are the golfer’s physical ailments; neck, elbow, wrist, hip and back pain afflict us, taking away our joy of swinging. There are also torments of mind, paralyzing us in front of daunting obstacles or should-make putts. Finally, there is a sharp helplessness felt when our ball is heading for impending doom. We cry out then, perhaps appealing to the golf gods for a lucky kick or bounce.

This is the human experience in a nutshell. Golf is hard, but life is harder.

Jesus, the eternal Son of God, became man and lived this hard life. Being fully human, he has been tested in every way we have, and that is why he is a flawlessly merciful High Priest. He was crucified naked as a criminal, subject to public shame. His flogged body hung with pierced hands and feet; he was pierced on his side and paralyzed from moving anywhere but toward the daunting mission he came to accomplish. He knew he would soon bear the just wrath of God for our sins (propitiation) and be forsaken so that we would receive grace. Impending doom was coming, and he cried out: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46). Agonizing and lonely humiliation—such was the life of Jesus, the hardest life of all.

But that is not the whole story. Jesus’ life was also adorned in perfect obedience, and that is why he is a spotlessly faithful High Priest. “For the joy that was set before him, [he] endured the cross, despising the shame” (Hebrews 12:2). He prayed forgiveness over those who stripped him naked (Luke 23:34). He was the silent Lamb before his accusers, endured with perfect hope, suffered with perfect submission. He willingly took our sin, our shame, and our pain. And at the tipping point, he cried out to the true living God. Now, he “is seated at the right hand of the throne of God,” exalted after a job well done (Hebrews 12:2).

Jesus Christ is a complicated Person. Fully human, fully God—two distinct natures perfectly united in one person forever, without mixture, confusion, separation, or division (see Creed of Chalcedon, 451 A. D.) It’s one of those puzzles where we can place the corners, and put together the boundaries, but there remains mystery in the middle that we cannot peer into without speculation.

Christ is utterly unique, yet he is, and forever will be, our Brother. The family tree looks like this: he is eternally begotten by the Father, and we are adopted. This is not a superficial or broken family; the bond of love is like no other. He is familiar in his own flesh with our sin, our pain, our longing and our crying. He is not ashamed of us, and will never give up on us. Our new family says, “Fear not, you worm Jacob” (Isaiah 41:14). We are no longer alone, no longer misunderstood, no longer in a broken family, no longer at risk to be punished or abandoned. It is finished: the ball is in the hole.

Isabelle Beisiegel
August 20, 2015
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