"He is not ashamed to call them brethren." —Hebrews 2:11

If the Leader of God's "many sons" must share their trials He must Himself become Man. This was a Brotherhood to be gloried in. He Himself was not ashamed of it, since they and He are "all of One, for which cause He is not ashamed to call them brethren." "Since then the children are sharers in flesh and blood, He also Himself in like manner partook of the same." "Born of a woman" He shared their entire humanity. He experienced the feebleness and dependence of infancy, and is Brother to every little child. Toiling in obscurity, year after year, He is Brother to all who, by sweat of brow, earn their daily bread. Having experienced hunger and thirst He is Brother to all who suffer privation, and all who ever hunger naturally for what they cannot obtain righteously. Weary at the well and in the boat, He is Brother to all whose labor of hand or head is excessive and exhausting. In the agonies of scourge and cross He was Brother to all who suffer pain, and are in danger of impatience or of wrongful escape. He experienced the separation of soul and body, and the instinctive fear of death common to humanity.

As our Brother, He took to Himself a human soul as well as body, with human emotions—exhibited in His "compassion on the multitudes"; His pity towards the sick and sad; His sympathy when He wept on seeing the tears of others; His love for little children; His benevolence towards all, with His special friendship for a few. With the bravery of the bravest He united the tenderness which some falsely contrast with manliness, but which is an essential element of it. He sought human sympathy, even in the intervals of prayer to His Father; and was pained by unrequited affection and desertion. He exhibited the self-respect which every true man should feel, when He said, "have you come out as against a thief?"

In spirit, as well as body and soul, He was our Brother—exhibited in His exceeding sorrowfulness, the anguish of the Sin-bearer, His cry from the midnight gloom of the cross. Whatever has been endured by any of His followers in depression of spirit, in agony of forsakenness, was felt by Him.

Without sin, He partook of the faculties which to us are occasions of sin. "God made man upright;" with human instincts, "very good." The first Adam was tempted, and fell; the second Adam was tempted, and stood firm. Because tempted—our Brother.

As Brother He shared the discipline of trial. Our High Priest sanctifies us, by His Sacrifice, Spirit, and Example; and we who are thus sanctified are all children of the Father who led Him and is leading us to glory. God ordains the suffering and the glory, both in the case of the "Captain of Salvation" and His followers. Therefore, sharers in the discipline of the same Father, in the sanctifying grace of the same Spirit, subject to the purifying flames of the same furnace, journeying along the same painful path to the same blessed Home—He and we are "both of One;" and, therefore, He is not ashamed to call us brethren.

It may happen among men that one becoming great in position, but small in heart, is ashamed to acknowledge his brother, who still lives in the cottage they had shared together. Not so with Christ. After His brief sojourn on earth as our Brother, now raised to the glory of His Father's throne, He is not ashamed to own those with whom He shared poverty and pain.

He acknowledged this Brotherhood when He said to the multitude, "Whoever does the will of my Father, the same is my brother." He owned it after His resurrection—"I ascend to my Father and your Father." He ascended in the same human form. The angels expressed it when they said, "This same Jesus shall in like manner" return—as Man. At the Second Advent "the Son of Man will come in His glory"—glorious, yet Man. On the judgment-seat He will proclaim the relationship—"Forasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these, my brethren, you did it unto me;" the very least of them—His brother! And in heaven, when He might have put away a form reminding of humiliation, He retains it forever. "The Lamb as it had been slain" means the Savior as a Man, with the scars of Calvary, seated on the throne.

Why is He not ashamed? Because we are children of the same Father, "both of One Father." Because of the true love which is never ashamed of its object, but is the more ready to express itself the more it is needed. Because He knows the infirmities with which we struggle, the yearnings of unsatisfied desire, the cravings of poverty and pain, the opportunities presented by circumstances for Satan's assaults—weariness of mind and weakness of flesh. He is "touched with a feeling of our infirmities," and, in spite of our failures, is not ashamed of us. Because He knows the good that is in us, for He put it there. He knew how sincere Peter was, in spite of his failure when he said, "You know that I love You." He sees that, battling with temptation and often wounded, we still retain the shield and grasp the sword; and that although often stumbling and faint, our faces are still heavenward. Beneath fading blossom and torn leaf He sees the living germ that shall yet burst into beauty and fruitfulness.

He does not despise the day of small things—the first tear of the penitent, the first genuine struggle against sin, the first homeward step of the prodigal. He sees the little patches of blue sky that foretell fair weather, the first few flowers that show the path of coming spring, the first streaks on the horizon that proclaim the dawn—and He is not ashamed of us.

He has a work of grace going on in our hearts. He knows what He has done and will do. He sees the end from the beginning; the flower in the bud, the fruit in the blossom, the day in the dawn, the river in the streamlet, the man in the babe, perfected Glory in the beginnings of Grace. Because in us—fearing, sorrowing, struggling, bleeding, fainting, sometimes falling—He sees those He is leading to glory, who will surround His throne, radiant in holiness, exulting in bliss, perfect as He is perfect—"He is not ashamed to call us brethren."

Let this Brotherhood with the chief Sufferer comfort all "the sons of God" who mourn. What an honor is such relationship! What a treasure is such love! Heavenly realities transcend all earthly terms. His is a love which never loses its freshness, never wearies in its manifestation, and which no lapse of time can weaken. We shall never fully know "the length and breadth and depth and height" of a love that "passes knowledge."

It is consolation that there is nothing in us the discovery of which will diminish His love, because He already knows more of our unworthiness than we ourselves. We may sometimes think that if those we love knew all our faults they would love us less. Jesus knows. He has "set our sins in the light of His countenance," but that light is love. There is nothing for Him to find out that will make Him ashamed to call us brethren.

"Since You have deigned,
Creator of all hearts, to own and share
The woe of what You mad'st and we have stained.

"You know'st our bitterness; our joys are Thine;
No stranger You to all our wanderings wild;
Nor could we bear to think how every line
Of us, Your darkened likeness and defiled,

"Stands in full sunshine of Your piercing eye,
But that You call'st us Brethren! Sweet repose
Is in that word! The Lord who dwells on high
Knows all, yet loves us better than He knows."

The lowliest Christian may exult in a Brotherhood nobler than all worldly relationship. Those in peril may rely on the safety this assures. In all distress we have a "Brother in adversity;" a Friend who "sticks closer than a Brother." When tempted we can confidently appeal to Him who "resisted unto blood striving against sin." When bereaved we can be sure of the sympathy of the Brother of Bethany. And when we cross the river called Death, our Brother will fulfill His promise, "When you pass through the waters I will be with you." He will welcome us on the other shore, lead us by the hand to the Father's presence, and say, "Here am I, and the children You have given me!" Before the innumerable multitude of unfallen angels He will own us as co-heirs with Himself, and summon us to share the home He is preparing for us—saying, "Come, O blessed children of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world." Then, when we are "perfected," reflecting His image—"like Him, seeing Him as He is" throughout eternity He will "not be ashamed to call us brethren!"

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