Oh Brother

Our reflection for renewed thinking today, the Fifth Day of Lent, comes from Heb. 2:11-18:

11 For he who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one source. That is why he is not ashamed to call them brothers, 12 saying,
“I will tell of your name to my brothers;
in the midst of the congregation I will sing your praise.”
13 And again, “I will put my trust in him.” And again, “Behold, I and the children God has given me.”
14 Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, 15 and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery. 16 For surely it is not angels that he helps, but he helps the offspring of Abraham. 17 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. 18 For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.

I cannot help but think about the contrast between the Christ and the elder brother in the story we know as the Prodigal Son (Luke 15). On one hand we have the embracing of the unworthy, the identification with their plight, and the suffering for their redemption; on the other we have the rejection of their worth, the refusal of fellowship, and the desire for their judgment.

It goes without saying that Christians are to have in them the attitude that was in Christ Jesus toward those who have fallen–a rather inclusive portion of humanity. It also goes without saying that we continually fall short of this. When we do, we implicitly mirror the older brother, we specifically refused the identification with the fallen that Jesus did not hesitate to declare. Jesus calls them brothers who were far different from his own divine nature; the brother refused to acknowledge his kinship with the lost brother, referring to him as “this son of yours” before the father.

This is a brief post; there isn’t much more to say. Just as the gospel itself is “simple” in the sense of what is essential, so too are the repentances it calls for. Today, let us offer prayers of repentance for the attitudes we have that fall closer to the brother’s than to Christ’s when looking at “those other” people for whom he gave himself.

Feel free to lead us in such prayers in the comments.

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