The Better Brother

Like me as a child and like me still today, my children are far from perfect. One of the things that frustrates me most as a dad is probably one of the same things that frustrated my parents most when I was growing up – when an older brother teases his sibling(s). Marsha and I tell Noah and Levi often what we expect of them as the oldest brothers who have professed faith in Jesus Christ. They are to set an example and be kind to their siblings. Sometimes they do well. Sometimes they sin. They are just like I am.

No doubt, though, things go much better in the home when big brothers are kind and helpful. I am sure that was the case when I was growing up, too, although I rarely recall moments of kindness and helpfulness coming from me. As a prideful, foolish teenager, I was anything but the good brother my two sisters needed me to be. I pray I am and will do better now, but what a wasted opportunity from my childhood! I blew it.

Thankfully, my sisters still love me, and my parents did not send me off to some far-away military school (though my dad did threaten that at least a time or two).

There are countless stories of big brothers who have had incredible impacts on their siblings, whether it is because they helped raise them, provided for them, protected them, set great examples for them, and/or continuously encouraged them. Everyone wants to have that kind of brother.

Even I, as the only boy and the oldest brother, often wished I had a brother. What I did not have biologically, though, I did have spiritually, particularly when I was in college. Furthermore, I continue to have such men in my life – men who set godly examples, lead well, and encourage me greatly.

JESUS IS SUPERIOR

What we all long for in a big brother, Jesus is (and so much more). On Sunday morning, Lord willing, I will continue our sermon series through Hebrews – “The Journey of Faith” – and preach through chapter 2 on how “Jesus Is the Better Brother.” He is the One who does everything we could ever want and need a brother to do – He pursues, provides, promises, performs, and purifies.

Jesus set the example of how we are to live. Jesus provides for our needs and builds us up. Jesus sacrificed His life and took the punishment we deserved when He died on the cross for our sins. Jesus won the victory over Satan, sin, and death. Jesus brings us to the Father when we trust in Him. Jesus changes our hearts and lives. Jesus never leaves us nor forsakes us. Jesus is the only One who can do all of this. He is the better Brother. Jesus is superior.

WE NEED TO BE BETTER

While none of us is Jesus, we can and must be better. We do so not by thinking we can be Him but rather by turning to Him. As He changes us from the inside out, He helps us do better in obeying His Word. He does indeed make us more like Himself, helping us to love the Lord our God with all that we are and love others as we love ourselves. Let us be better by asking Jesus to change us. Let us be better by asking others to hold us accountable. Let us be better by recognizing that God’s Word is the standard for how we are to live. Let us be better by being in the Word, serving in our church, and being disciples who make disciples.

We have not yet arrived. We need to be better. Lord, help us!

Right before leaving for their first day of school on Tuesday, the kids were kind enough to let us take some pictures of them. Surprisingly, one take was enough. Yahtzee!

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