Both the one who makes men holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers.
This past June, the world of commentary lost one of its most elegant writers. When Charles Krauthammer died, people across the political spectrum knew they had lost someone special. They may or may not always have agreed with his opinions, but the thoughtfulness and eloquence of his columns were beyond dispute. For his writing he received the Pulitzer Prize.
In the wake of Krauthammer’s death, admirers began to share with each other some of his most beloved columns. A piece his fans mentioned repeatedly was the one he wrote about his brother, Marcel, when Marcel died in 2006. To read it, do an online search: “Marcel, My Brother.” Of this article one reader wrote, “I’ve never read any other column—from anybody else—that resonated so deeply.”
When Charles wrote about his brother, he wrote about their years growing up. Marcel was four years older than Charles and a magnificent athlete. But in his column, Charles remembers how his big brother always included him in everything he did. Every summer they were inseparable. And even though, as Charles says, “four years is a chasm [when you’re young],” all of Marcel’s friends knew Marcel’s rule whenever they got together for a neighborhood game. Marcel’s rule was, “Charlie plays.” And so, Charlie did.
Perhaps the most poignant portion of Charles’ piece on his big brother comes near the very end. He writes, “There is a black-and-white photograph of us, two boys alone. He’s maybe 11. I’m 7. …In the photo, nothing but sand, sea, and sky, the pure elements of our summers together. We are both thin as rails…dressed in our summer finest: bathing suits and buzz cuts. Marcel’s left arm is draped around my neck with that effortless natural ease—and touch of protectiveness—that only older brothers know.”
When the living Word of our God tells us, that Jesus is our brother, perhaps it happens too often that you and I do not stop to take in what that means. The Son of God became a human being, yes. He lived a holy life on our behalf, yes. His suffering and death washed away our every wrong, yes. He rose from death and lives, yes.
But as he lives, he watches over us not simply as if we were some divine assignment he needs to protect. He’s our brother. He’s been where we are. He knows how hard and lonely life can be. He understands.
Remember the photograph of Marcel and Charlie? Marcel’s arm draped around little Charlie’s neck says it all. Remember that picture when you think of Jesus’ love for you.
Lord Jesus, you are my brother. I’m sorry how often I forget that. But your arm is around me always. Thank you. Amen.