Some while ago there was a movie by the name of A River Runs through It. It told the story of two brothers growing up in the beautiful Montana countryside. The older one was quiet, studious, hard-working; he got a good job and became a respected man in the community. His unruly younger brother was great fun, but was always getting into dangerous situations, pushing the boundaries of what was acceptable. He ended up associating with people who led him deeper and deeper into trouble and was finally killed in a brawl. His older brother couldn’t help him. They had grown too far apart.
As one person observed: “It was a moving and tragic story, and the most tragic thing about it was this: the older son saw what was happening to his beloved younger brother, and there was nothing he could do about it. He couldn’t reach him. He couldn’t come to where he was and rescue him.”
The point of our passage this week is that Jesus, the older brother of a much larger family, could and did come to where his siblings were, wallowing in the land of sin and death. He identified with them, shared their fate, and thereby rescued them from it.
Above all other passages in Scripture, this one speaks most fully about Jesus as the oldest brother, the firstborn, of a large family (Paul mentions this too, for instance in Romans 8:29, but doesn’t develop it so thoroughly). Thus, one commentator poignantly remarked: “It encourages us to see Jesus not as the kind of older brother whom we resent because he’s always getting things right and being successful while we’re always getting things wrong and failing, but as the kind of older brother who, without a trace of patronizing or looking down his nose at us, comes to find us where we are, out of sheer love and goodness of heart, and to help us out of the mess.”
In Hebrews 2:10-18, the writer of Hebrews adds several more elements which give the story of Christ our older brother, unparalleled beauty, and depth. Join us this week as we look at Why Christ suffered.
We have another book to give away this week. Again, the first person who texts or calls me at 205.514.0199, upon reading this email, will receive a free copy of The Enemy Within: Straight Talk about the Power and Defeat of Sin, by Kris Lundgaard.
On the back cover the book is described in this manner:
“We are at war. We have only two choices: KILL OR BE KILLED. The sin that lurks inside each one of us is cunning, resourceful, and relentless. Much as we’d like to avoid thinking about it, it is a foe we must know, and hate, in order to fight against it effectively. In this expanded edition of a time-tested classic, Kris Lundgaard provides tactical guidance on how to wield lethal faith against sin in everyday life. Drawing on the wisdom of john Owen’s masterwork, The Mortification of Sin, he challenges us to battle for holiness with confidence in Christ’s Spirit and his victorious work on our behalf.”