Sabbath, February 9, 2013
“He who is ‘holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners,’ is not ashamed to call us brethren. Hebrews 7:26; 2:11. In Christ the family of earth and the family of heaven are bound together. Christ glorified is our brother.” –The Desire of Ages,pp. 25, 26.
1. Who, according to the teachings of Jesus, are His brothers?
Mark 3:31-35 There came then his brethren and his mother, and, standing without, sent unto him, calling him. And the multitude sat about him, and they said unto him, Behold, thy mother and thy brethren without seek for thee. And he answered them, saying, Who is my mother, or my brethren? And he looked round about on them which sat about him, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren! For whosoever shall do the will of God, the same is my brother, and my sister, and mother.
Matthew 7:21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
Galatians 3:26 For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.
“While Jesus was still teaching the people, His disciples brought the message that His mother and His brothers were without, and desired to see Him. He knew what was in their hearts, and ‘He answered and said unto him that told Him, Who is My mother? and who are My brethren? And He stretched forth His hand toward His disciples, and said, Behold My mother and My brethren! For whosoever shall do the will of My Father which is in heaven, the same is My brother, and sister, and mother.’
“All who would receive Christ by faith were united to Him by a tie closer than that of human kinship. They would become one with Him, as He was one with the Father. As a believer and doer of His words, His mother was more nearly and savingly related to Him than through her natural relationship. His brothers would receive no benefit from their connection with Him unless they accepted Him as their personal Saviour.” –The Desire of Ages, p. 325.
The love of our elder Brother
2. As our elder Brother, how did Jesus express His wonderful love for us?
Philippians 2:7, 8 But made himself of no reputation, and took on him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient to death, even the death of the cross.
Hebrews 2:17 Why in all things it behooved him to be made like to his brothers, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.
“If our salvation depended on our own efforts, we could not be saved; but it depends on the One who is behind all the promises. Our grasp on Him may seem feeble, but His love is that of an elder brother; so long as we maintain our union with Him, no one can pluck us out of His hand.” –The Acts of the Apostles, p. 552.
His Father, our Father
3. What assurance do we have that through Jesus we are accepted by the Father?
Hebrews 2:11, 12 For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren, Saying, I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee.
“Jesus teaches us to call His Father our Father. He is not ashamed to call us brethren. Hebrews 2:11. So ready, so eager, is the Saviour’s heart to welcome us as members of the family of God, that in the very first words we are to use in approaching God He places the assurance of our divine relationship, ‘Our Father.’” –Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, p. 103.
“In the apostasy, man alienated himself from God. The separation is wide and fearful; but Christ has made provision again to connect use with Himself. The power of evil is so identified with human nature that no man can overcome except by union with Christ. Through this union we receive moral and spiritual power. If we have the spirit of Christ we shall bring forth the fruit of righteousness, fruit that will honor and bless men, and glorify God.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, p. 230.
4. On what occasion did Jesus refer to this special relationship with His disciples?
Matthew 28:10 Then said Jesus unto them, Be not afraid: go tell my brethren that they go into Galilee, and there shall they see me.
Mark 16:7 But go your way, tell his disciples and Peter that he goeth before you into Galilee: there shall ye see him, as he said unto you.
“But Christ raised His hand, saying, Detain Me not; ‘for I am not yet ascended to My Father: but go to My brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto My Father, and your Father; and to My God, and your God.’ And Mary went her way to the disciples with the joyful message….
“Christ’s first work on earth after His resurrection was to convince His disciples of His undiminished love and tender regard for them. To give them proof that He was their living Saviour, that He had broken the fetters of the tomb, and could no longer be held by the enemy death; to reveal that He had the same heart of love as when He was with them as their beloved Teacher, He appeared to them again and again. He would draw the bonds of love still closer around them. Go tell My brethren, He said, that they meet Me in Galilee.” –The Desire of Ages, pp. 790, 793.
Becoming members of the heavenly family
5. How can we become children of God and brethren of Jesus?
John 1:12, 13 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
1 John 5:1, 2 Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments.
Romans 8:14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.
“But if you call God your Father you acknowledge yourselves His children, to be guided by His wisdom and to be obedient in all things, knowing that His love is changeless. You will accept His plan for your life. As children of God, you will hold His honor, His character, His family, His work, as the objects of your highest interest. It will be your joy to recognize and honor your relation to your Father and to every member of His family. You will rejoice to do any act, however humble, that will tend to His glory or to the wellbeing of your kindred.” –Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, pp. 105, 106.
“All who have been born into the heavenly family are in a special sense the brethren of our Lord. The love of Christ binds together the members of His family, and wherever that love is made manifest there the divine relationship is revealed.” –The Desire of Ages, p. 638.
6. What desire did Jesus express in His intercessory prayer addressed to His Father in our behalf?
John 17:21 That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.
John 17:24 Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world.
“The Lord desires His chosen servants to learn how to unite together in harmonious effort. It may seem to some that the contrast between their gifts and the gifts of a fellow laborer is too great to allow them to unite in harmonious effort; but when they remember that there are varied minds to be reached, and that some will reject the truth as it is presented by one laborer, only to open their hearts to God’s truth as it is presented in a different manner by another laborer, they will hopefully endeavor to labor together in unity. Their talents, however diverse, may all be under the control of the same Spirit. In every word and act, kindness and love will be revealed; and as each worker fills his appointed place faithfully, the prayer of Christ for the unity of His followers will be answered, and the world will know that these are His disciples.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 9, p. 145.
Co-heirs with Christ
7. If we are the brethren of Jesus, what will be our inheritance?
Galatians 3:29 And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.
Romans 8:17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.
Matthew 25:34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.
“‘Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God.’ What a precious privilege is this, that we may be sons and daughters of the Most High, heirs of God and joint heirs with Jesus Christ.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, p. 315.
“God loves His obedient children. He has a kingdom prepared, not for disloyal subjects, but for His children whom He has tested and tried in a world marred and corrupted by sin. As obedient children, we have the privilege of relationship with God. ‘If children,’ He says, ‘then heirs’ to an immortal inheritance…. Christ and His people are one.” – (Letter 119, 1897) Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 6, p. 1077.
“Those who accept Christ as their personal Saviour are not left as orphans, to bear the trials of life alone. He receives them as members of the heavenly family; He bids them call His Father their Father. They are His ‘little ones,’ dear to the heart of God, bound to Him by the most tender and abiding ties….
“And if we do hold the relation of kinship to Him, with what tenderness should we regard those who are brethren and sisters of our Lord! Should we not be quick to recognize the claims of our divine relationship? Adopted into the family of God, should we not honor our Father and our kindred?” –The Desire of Ages, p. 327.
For personal study
“To those who receive Him He gives power to become the sons of God, that at last God may receive them as His, to dwell with Him throughout eternity. If during this life they are loyal to God, they will at last ‘see His face; and His name shall be in their foreheads.’ Revelation 22:4. And what is the happiness of heaven but to see God? What greater joy could come to the sinner saved by the grace of Christ than to look upon the face of God and know Him as Father?” –The Ministry of Healing, p. 421.
“God loves us as He loves His Son. This is what Jesus said in His last prayer for His disciples, Thou ‘hast loved them, as Thou hast loved Me.’ John 17:23.” –Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, p. 104.
- Hebrews 1:2