Jesus and His Brethren

Ellet J. Waggoner

The Present Truth : August 26, 1897

Let us take a little review of what we have already passed over. In the first chapter we learn that God still speaks to us by His Son, who is Heir of all things, by whom all things were created, and who, because He is the shining of the Father’s glory and the very image of His substance, and bears all things upon His own life, has made reconciliation for sins, and is seated at the right hand of the Majesty in the heavens, having “a name that is above every name.” He is better than the angels, because He is the uncreated, begotten Son, the Creator. To Him, and not to the angels, has it been said, “Sit on My right hand, until I make Thine enemies Thy footstool.” Nevertheless the angels are not insignificant beings, since they have the speed and strength of the winds, and the brightness and swiftness of the lightning. These glorious beings are content to be servants to mortals who are heirs of salvation, since it is the will of the Master.

But though the angels are so excellent in strength, to them has not been committed the work of preaching the word of salvation. That at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and by Him, is committed to them that hear. The reason why the Gospel is not committed to angels, is that “unto the angels hath He not put in subjection the world to come, whereof we speak,” is the new heavens and the new earth, wherein dwells righteousness, and is identical with the world that was in the beginning, when man was made king over it and all that it contained. “Whatsoever God does, it shall be for ever” (Ecclesiastes 3.14), and therefore the earth once given to man must for ever remain his. Therefore it is that to man is given the work of preaching the Gospel, by the power of which “the first dominion” is to be restored. The heavens are the heavens of the Lord; but the earth hath He given to the children of men.” Psalm 115.16

“But now we see not yet all things put under him. But we see, Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that He by the grace of God should taste death for every man. It was not this “present evil world,” blighted by the curse that God gave to man.” No; from this we are to be delivered by Christ, who gave Himself for that purpose. Galatians 1.4. This world passes away, but “the world to come” is man’s everlasting possession, and the right to it has been earned by Christ’s life and death and resurrection. Since the world was in the beginning given to man, to Christ has been given authority to execute judgment, “because He is the Son of man.” John 5.27. Who has the right to judge, if not the King? And this right Christ has obtained for all men, since He “by the grace of God tasted death “for every man.” All who accept Christ are raised to sit with Him, and made kings and priests. “He raises up the poor out of the dust, and lifts up the beggar from the dunghill, to set them among princes, and to make them inherit the throne of glory.” 1 Samuel 2.8

“For Every Man”—This right Christ has purchased for every man. In order to prove that the poor are not excluded, but that the most miserable and despised have dominion over the world to come given them, if they will but accept it, Christ the representative Man, who is at the right hand of the Majesty on high as our Forerunner, was the poorest man that ever lived on earth. His birth was most humble, and His death most disgraceful, and all His life long His only possessions were the clothes that He wore. He had not where to lay His head, and unless shelter was given Him by some kind friend, the bare mountain was His bed. In taking this low position, Christ indicated that what He won is for every man. “Every man” - every soul - has in Christ the right to call God “my Father.”

“For it became Him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory,—to make the Author of their salvation perfect through sufferings. For both He that sanctifies and they that 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 congregation will I sing Thy praise.” Hebrews 2.10-12

Bringing Sons to Glory.—In the beginning Adam “was the son of God.” Luke 3.38. As such he was “crowned with glory and honor.” But “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” Romans 3.23. That is the reason why we see not now “all things put under man.” The kingdom of glory is such because it is a kingdom of righteousness. But God in Christ is “bringing many sons unto glory,” that is, to the dominion over the world to come. The fact that He is bringing them to glory, shows that they lack it. But glory and righteousness are inseparable, are really one and the same thing, as we saw from Romans 3.23, where the loss of righteousness is the loss of glory. God is bringing many sons to righteousness.” Just think! He is bringing sons to glory, to righteousness! Then He acknowledges the poor, sinful, disgraced outcasts as His sons, whom He so lovingly longs to set over all His goods. Yes; never for one moment did the anxious father of the prodigal son cease to think of him as his son.

“Perfect through Sufferings”—What means this expression? What did Christ lack that He should need to be made perfect?—Nothing; for His character was perfection from the beginning. He not only is, but was, “holy, harmless, undefiled.” “It pleased the Father that in Him should all fullness dwell.” The simple citation of a few texts will be sufficient to show us what being made perfect is. When some one told Jesus that Herod sought to slay Him, He replied, “Go ye, and tell that fox, ‘Behold, I cast out devils, and I do cures today, and tomorrow, and the third day I shall be perfected’.” Luke 13.32. “Though He was a Son, yet learned He obedience by the things which He suffered; and being made perfect, He became the Author of eternal salvation unto all that obey Him.” Hebrews 5.5-9. Compare Acts 2.32, 33. The Apostle Paul said that his one desire was to be made conformable unto Christ’s death; “if by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect.” Philippians 3.10-12. And of the faithful patriarchs and prophets, who died in faith, without having received the promised inheritance, but who wait the resurrection, when it shall be brought to them (1 Peter 1.3-5), he says that God has provided a better thing for us, “that they without us should not be made perfect.” Hebrews 11.39, 40. They died in faith, with characters as perfect as they ever can be, for they were complete in Christ; but in a Gospel that includes “the redemption of the body,” it is evident that perfection is to be found only in the resurrection, and in the change from corruptible to incorruptible. It was fitting that God should make the Man Christ Jesus, who is the Author of salvation, perfect through sufferings, because man was already in a suffering condition, and could be brought to glory in no other way than through the sufferings into which he was cast.

“All of One”—“For both He that sanctifies and they who are sanctified are all of one.” These are wonderful words, in which we are assured of Christ’s oneness with the human family. In this we have the assurance of His sympathy. He is one with us, bound to us by ties that never can be broken. He is the Son of man, and as such He knows every weakness, every tendency to sin, every temptation, every pain, and every sorrow that oppresses human beings. What a world of comfort in that statement that we are “all of one;” that we have exactly the same right to call God our Father that Christ has.

“His Brethren”—Because all are of one, Jesus is not ashamed to call them brethren. Who is it that He is not ashamed to call brethren?—is it the rich, the learned, the righteous?—Ah, there would be no force in the expression if it were only that. What merit would there be in not being ashamed of people in whom there was nothing to be ashamed of? Who are they whom Jesus is not ashamed to call His brethren?—They are those to whom He declares the name of the Lord; for the proof that He is not ashamed to call them brethren, is the fact that He says, “I will declare Thy name unto My brethren.” Now the only ones, who need to have the name of God declared to them, are those who do not know it - which includes every person in every land, who does not know the Lord as his Saviour. It means all mankind before the word of salvation comes to them. Jesus, in heaven, looked down on fallen, sinful men, wandering out of the way like lost sheep, “having no hope, and without God in the world,” and said to the Father, “I will declare Thy name unto My brethren.” As Adam was the son of God, so, though fallen, are all his descendants. They have lost their birthright, and their right to the name, so that in Christ they must be born anew in order to be sons indeed; but He is nevertheless not ashamed to call them brethren. Here is hope for all mankind. And there is a lesson for us. If Christ is not ashamed to call the poor, the sinful, and the outcast, His brethren, why should we be? Who are we, that we should hold ourselves aloof from them? Nay, since He is not ashamed to call us brethren, how dare we be ashamed to acknowledge our kinship with all fallen humanity, and to recognize their claims on us? Perhaps when we learn the full meaning of those words, “He is not ashamed to call them brethren,” we shall experience the full power of the Gospel in our efforts to save men. Nay, there is no “perhaps;” there is certainty. For notice the connection, He is not ashamed to call them brethren; He shows His oneness with them in their utter helplessness, by saying, “I will put My trust in Him;” and then follows the words: “Behold, I and the children whom Thou hast given me.” The success of Christ’s own work must attend the labors of those who with Christ recognize degraded sinners as their brethren, and who labor for them with the same love that fills His heart.