The question of whether Jesus is our brother is an important one for Christians to consider. The Bible has much to say about Jesus’ relationship to humanity that can help us understand this issue more fully.
In one sense, Jesus is not our literal biological brother. He is the eternal Son of God who took on human flesh and was born of the virgin Mary (John 1:1-14). His Father is God the Father, not a human father. So biologically speaking, Jesus does not share the same earthly father or mother as the rest of humanity. He is unique in His incarnation.
However, the Bible presents Jesus as entering into profound spiritual brotherhood with humankind. Hebrews 2:11-12 says that Jesus is “not ashamed to call them brothers” and quotes Psalm 22 saying “I will tell of your name to my brothers.” Though not a biological brother, Jesus closely associates Himself with the human family spiritually.
Jesus calls His followers to see each other as spiritual brothers and sisters united in Him. He teaches that doing the will of God makes someone His true brother or sister (Matthew 12:50). The church is described as a family brought together by faith in Christ (1 Timothy 5:1-2). So believers are brothers and sisters “in Christ.”
This spiritual brotherhood is possible because Jesus fully shares our human experience. The author of Hebrews says Jesus shared in our humanity and “was made like his brothers in every respect” (Hebrews 2:17). He knows all our weaknesses, pain, and temptation because He also experienced them (Hebrews 4:15-16). In the incarnation, Jesus enters into the human struggle as our Empathetic High Priestly Brother.
Jesus also redeems and restores our broken human family relationship with God. Hebrews 2:10-13 presents Him as our pioneer who makes us holy and leads us into the family of God as beloved children. By His life, death for sin, and resurrection, Jesus enables us to call on God as our loving Father (Romans 8:15).
Furthermore, Jesus’ words and actions show He considered even unbelievers to be included in His spiritual human family. He had compassion on crowds, dined with sinners, and died to save the world – not just the elect (Mark 6:34, Luke 19:10, John 6:33). His love encompasses all people, even those who reject Him.
So in summary, Jesus is not our biological brother but something far greater – our incarnate Savior who redeems us into God’s family. Through faith union with Christ, all believers become members of God’s household and thus share a profound spiritual brotherhood in Him. Jesus fully identifies with humankind even to the point of death and calls us to see each other as beloved siblings. By His incarnation, Jesus reveals how highly God esteems us as His children, resulting in us being co-heirs with Christ (Romans 8:17). What amazing brotherly love!
Jesus Shares Humanity’s Experiences
A key reason Jesus can be considered our brother is that He chose to fully share in our humanity during His incarnation. The author of Hebrews emphasizes how Jesus was made like us in every way:
“Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things…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 2:14, 17)
Jesus experienced our bodily weaknesses, emotions, pains, temptations, and trials. He wept at suffering and death (John 11:35). He knew hunger (Matthew 4:2). He felt compassion for those in need (Mark 6:34). Jesus can empathize with our human experience because He too “suffered when tempted” (Hebrews 2:18). He is thus our sympathetic High Priestly brother who understands our frailties.
Some key examples where Jesus shares human experiences include:
- Experiencing weakness – Jesus got tired and slept (Mark 4:38), felt physical pain on the cross.
- Enduring temptation – Satan tempted Jesus in the wilderness for 40 days (Matthew 4:1-11).
- Expressing emotion – Jesus wept over Lazarus (John 11:35) and felt compassion for people (Matthew 9:36-38).
- Facing abandonment – Even Jesus’ closest disciples deserted Him in His darkest hour (Matthew 26:56).
- Suffering injustice – Jesus was falsely accused during multiple unjust trials.
- Experiencing poverty – Jesus said foxes and birds have homes, but He had no place to lay His head (Matthew 8:20).
Hebrews 4:15 succinctly summarizes: “We do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.” Jesus can be our sympathetic brother because He has stood in our shoes.
Jesus Calls Believers Brothers and Sisters
Jesus used familial language like “brother” and “sister” to describe His spiritual relationship with all who follow Him. Our faith union with Christ places us into God’s family together as beloved siblings. Some key examples include:
“For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.” (Matthew 12:50)
“Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee” (Matthew 28:10).
“…my brothers are those who hear the word of God and do it.” (Luke 8:21)
This spiritual brotherhood extends to all believers throughout the church age who are adopted into God’s family. The apostle Paul writes to the Romans:
“For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God…you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, ‘Abba! Father!’ The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ…” (Romans 8:14-17)
Furthermore, believers are to treat one another as cherished family members:
“Do not rebuke an older man but encourage him as you would a father, younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, younger women as sisters, in all purity.” (1 Timothy 5:1-2)
Because we share the same Heavenly Father and Savior, Christians enjoy an eternal spiritual sibling relationship as co-heirs with Christ. Our brother Jesus leads us into God’s family.
Jesus Identifies with All Humanity
While Jesus specially called believers into spiritual brotherhood with Him, in a broader sense He identified with all of humanity as our fellow man. Though eternal God, He took on full human nature (Philippians 2:6-8). He is both fully God and fully human, the God-man.
Throughout His earthly ministry, Jesus showed deep compassion and identification even with those who did not believe in Him yet. Some examples include:
- Jesus had compassion on crowds because they were like “sheep without a shepherd” (Matthew 9:36-38).
- Jesus welcomed tax collectors and sinners to eat with Him, showing them love and acceptance (Luke 5:30-32).
- Jesus chose to associate more with the outcasts than the religious elite of the day (Matthew 11:19).
- Jesus died to take away the sins “of the world” – meaning all humanity (John 1:29, 3:16-17).
So while Jesus specially redeemed those who believe in Him, His incarnation meant He identified with the whole human race. He treated individuals with love and compassion regardless of whether they submitted to Him as Lord. His sacrificial death offers opportunity for salvation to all.
Jesus Restores Our Relationship with God
One of the profound ways Jesus acts as our brother is by enabling fallen human beings to be reconciled to God. Our relationship with our Heavenly Father was broken through sin (Isaiah 59:2). Part of Jesus’ mission was to restore us to the family of God:
“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)
Jesus’ perfect life, substitutionary atoning death for sin, and victorious resurrection mean believers are redeemed from slavery to sin and death. We are adopted into God’s household as beloved, forgiven children:
“But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, ‘Abba! Father!’ So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.” (Galatians 4:4-7)
Whereas we were once excluded as hostile aliens, Jesus’ redemptive work reconciles us into membership in God’s family (Ephesians 2:12-19). Our Elder Brother Jesus enables us to relate to God as beloved children once again.
Jesus is Greater Than Just a Brother
While Scripture presents Jesus as our brother in some relational senses, it’s important to remember He is far greater than merely our sibling. Calling Jesus a brother should not deny His eternal divine nature and work.
Jesus is not our biological brother but our mighty God in human flesh (Isaiah 9:6, Colossians 2:9). He is the exalted King of kings before whom every knee will bow, not just a buddy or peer (Philippians 2:9-11). And Jesus is the great Bridegroom while believers are His bride, enjoying a spiritual marriage relationship that far exceeds sibling bonds (Ephesians 5:25-27, Revelation 19:7).
So while Jesus is our fellow man who empathizes with our pains and temptations, He rightfully deserves our highest honor, worship, obedience and reverence. He is our Lord, not just our brother. We must not diminish Jesus’ glory by treating Him as merely a human sibling or downplaying His sovereignty.
The book of Hebrews again provides an important perspective: “For this reason he [Jesus] had to be made like his brothers in every respect…For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.” (Hebrews 2:17-18). Jesus shares our frail humanity only so He can save and succor us in our weakness. His brotherly identification serves His mighty purpose to redeem us from sin and death.
So Scripture presents Jesus as our brother in some powerful relational senses while still upholding His supreme majesty and honor. We must hold these twin truths in balance.
In summary, the Bible presents Jesus as our brother in a few key ways:
- Jesus fully shares in our humanity and experiences human weakness and temptation.
- Jesus brings believers into spiritual brotherhood as God’s adopted children.
- Jesus identifies generally with all people in compassion.
- Jesus restores humanity’s broken relationship with God.
Yet Scripture simultaneously upholds Christ’s divine sovereignty, supremacy, and Lordship over all. He is our elder Brother who rules as eternal King. Jesus’ brotherly identification with humankind serves His glorious purpose to save, lead, and redeem us. What matchless redemptive brotherly love!