Recently, I’ve been thinking about the relationships of Jesus. I know He is God and therefore not identical to us in the way we relate to other humans, but on the other hand, relationships began with the Godhead, so there must be some emotions present which resemble ours.
My husband has been preaching through Romans on Sunday nights, and he used this verse in one message – Romans 8:29. “For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.” (NKJV)
That last phrase jumped out at me – “that He might be the firstborn among many brothers.” (italics mine) Siblings. Jesus wanted to have siblings, wanted to share His Father, His home, His riches, His inheritance. Most of us don’t have a say in the matter of siblings or the number thereof, and usually, as kids, we’re not too happy to share with them. Sometimes adult siblings have squabbles and maybe serious contention. But Jesus not only wanted siblings, He wanted to redeem them with His own life.
When Jesus appeared to Mary Magdalene after His resurrection, He told her “Go . . . to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.” (John 20:17, NIV – italics mine) What incredible love Jesus had for them and has for us – His Father is now also our Father.
Today, my husband used the theme of Palm Sunday, of course, and he explained that Jesus may have spent a good deal of time with Mary, Martha and Lazarus duing Passion Week, between the Triumphal Entry and the Last Supper (Passover). Again, I was reminded of the relationships of Jesus. He had friends; He enjoyed spending time with friends. I wonder if they traded gentle humor. Did they laugh a lot when Jesus was there? Did He tease Mary and Martha? Did they fix His favorite foods and have long talks? Somehow, it comforts me to think that at the beginning of this week of terrible suffering and loneliness, Jesus could spend some time with friends who loved Him so much.
My firstborn is looking toward the horizon of college in another year. I’m peeking at it too, not gleeful to think of her leaving for sure, but trying to take it in stride, knowing that is why we raise them – to let them go. That reminded me of God the Father. He let His Son go too. He let Him go to foreign planet; He let Him go to a place where He would be misunderstood, disdained, ridiculed, tortured and killed.
There’s no way I would want my child to go away knowing she would be subjected to such treatment. (And I don’t believe there’s a problem with that sort of thing at Bible college!) But, God let His Son do that – and willingly too. Did the Father have emotions similar to mine when Jesus left Heaven and was born on earth? Did He miss His Son? Did He wish He could make things easier for Him, to bear some of the burdens for Him? I don’t know. But I do believe His parent’s heart must be the pattern, for everything good about human relationships takes expression from the Eternal.
Jesus was fully God and fully man. And He is a God of relationships. We can’t miss that. It does us no good to try to obey Him or please Him or honor Him if we cannot fully embrace a relationship with Him. Whatever else these verses mean, they assure me that Christ is not aloof from the humans He came to save, but is as close and devoted as a beloved brother. And that fact will make this week – Passion Week – all the more significant.