Being a Brother

For not even his brothers believed in him.

John 7:5

My brother Nathan lives in Norwich.  We’re not especially close; we don’t phone or text each other very often.  He is, nevertheless, my brother, and I love him very much.  He probably knows as much about me as anyone else.  Not only do we share the same genes, but we have a shared childhood.  We grew up together in the same house.  We played together.  We went on holiday together.  Sometimes we even shared the same bedroom.  Nathan and I consequently have a connection that we share with no-one else.  That’s what being a sibling is – you share your lives together for your formative years, and even if you never speak during your adult life, that connection remains.

Jesus had at least four brothers and two sisters.  Like Nathan and I, they were brought up together.  Being brought up together in first century Palestine probably ensured that they were brought up in much closer circumstances that my brother and I.  Whilst Nathan and I sometimes shared the same room, Jesus almost certainly would have shared his with his brothers.  Jesus and his brothers would therefore have known a great deal about each other.

In today’s verse, and in our current Mark Marathon passage, we see the rejection of Jesus as the Son of God by his family.  There are two key points here.  The first is the pain of the rejection that Jesus would have felt; not only were the Pharisees and the Herodians out to get him, but now his family were turning their backs on him too.  He must have felt very alone.  Secondly, we can see just how human Jesus was; he was human to the extent that, when he was growing up, Jesus’ brothers saw nothing in him to think that he was anything other than a normal boy.  When we talk, then, of Jesus sharing our pain as a human being, he really was doing that; he might have been divine, but he also knows and understands exactly what it is to be human.

What an incredible thought that the creator God became a human and lived amongst us!

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