Friday, May 16, 2014

The children of Jesus

Did you know that Jesus has kids?

It was fitting that God, for whom and through whom all things exist, in bringing many children to glory, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through sufferings. For the one who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one Father. For this reason Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters, saying . . . "Here am I and the children whom God has given me" (Heb 2.10-13).

I love this image of the church of Jesus Christ as his children, given to him by God. I don't remember ever hearing a sermon on this text, so I'll have to rectify that problem by preaching on it next time I get the chance. It has an image of the church's relation to God which is spiritually empowering.

Imagine what that means: you are like a child whom the Father has given the Son, and the Son is glad to have you. You -- with all of your defects and failings, your disobedience and your vices -- are a child of God and he is a happy father! Your adoption is the Father's gift to the Son, and the Son is overjoyed and thankful to the Father for you!

This is empowering because it beautifully expresses God's grace, a grace which gives you the confidence to approach God in peace. Jesus teaches us to pray to God as Father, not as Lord or Unoriginate Creator of All or anything of the sort. He does this because he wants to facilitate our spiritual lives through the precise and intentional use of language: when we conceive of God as our Father, we don't run away from him in times of trouble or temptation but rather ask for his help; when we conceive of God as our Father, we don't put the kind of distance between us and him that the titles "Lord," etc. do.

Importantly, too, if we are children of Jesus, then we are siblings of one another. The language of brotherhood and sisterhood is common enough among Christians -- "Brother Bob will lead us in prayer"; "Sister Mary will be playing the piano this morning"; etc. -- but I think more often than not our attitude remains at the level of title. I relate differently to my brother than to anyone else. Even if we are wildly different in terms of personality and interest, I love him and care for him more than I could for anyone else who were exactly like him except unrelated to me by blood. In the same way, we, as brothers and sisters under the same Jesus Christ, must love one another more than we love anyone else. We have to care for one another more than we care for anyone else.