‘Pointing to his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers.”’ Matthew 12.49
This simple statement reveals the wonderful regard in which Jesus held those who followed him – and this includes us. It is not just that we align ourselves to him, but also that he aligns himself to us and sees us as part of his family.
The idea of Jesus being our brother isn’t always comfortable – it can seem a little too familiar and runs the risk of us demoting him from ‘Lord’ to ‘mate’. It is certainly true that no picture of Jesus is ever likely to be totally adequate and we can stretch them too far, but in this case the image is not so much about us calling Jesus our ‘brother’, but more about him calling us his ‘brother’ or ‘sister’. It is about his choice to be identified with us. He is proud to be associated with us, delighted to stand with us and is available for us to bring to him our real feelings and thoughts.
It can sometimes be tempting to bring to Jesus a slightly unreal version of ourselves – a slightly holier and more devoted person than we really are – but his willingness to be associated with us means that he invites us to come to him just as we are, even with our doubts, insecurities and failings. It is this honest person that he calls his ‘brother’ or ‘sister’.