This is the second in a series of posts on brotherhood. In the first post, I outlined the first step toward true brotherhood, a sharing of stories that allows a bonding of hearts. In this post, I want to take a second step and explore the foundation of true brotherhood — Jesus Himself. The brotherhood of Jesus includes both the brotherly love He gives and the love He desires from men. In this love, a man finds his surest orientation into manhood. Let’s start first with the love He offers.

The Brotherly Love Jesus Offers

I think one of the most astounding verses in the whole Bible is found in the second chapter of Hebrews. Here the author is considering the wonder of the Son of God identifying Himself with the human race, even with our temptations. In the midst of this discussion, he makes a bold declaration: “That is why He is not ashamed to call them brothers (vs. 11).

Stop where you are and read that verse again. And then a third time. Now stop and consider what that might mean for you. Think of times when you have felt ashamed over something. Maybe it’s heeding the voice of cowardice, or giving into sexual temptation, or even being ashamed of Jesus. Then think of moments when you have felt exposed and experienced shame before the eyes of others. You know the terror of such a feeling. Finally think about this: What would it be like if you knew no shame? What would change? What prisons would you be released from?

All this and more is where Jesus wants to take us as men. The One who will judge our souls is so committed to coming close to us that He is not ashamed to call us brothers. He wants us to experience the love that sees all our darkness and dysfunction and simply says, “Come anyway and follow. I want you near Me. Let’s walk together as brothers. Let Me set things right inside of you. My love with set you free as a man. I know all this because I am a man as well.”

This is the love Jesus offers. To reject it or ignore it is madness. To receive it is life and health and peace. It’s the call into His brotherhood.

The Love He Desires From Us

But brotherhood is a two-way street, like all good friendships. Jesus offers us His brotherly love in return. What does He desire back from us? In one of the most poignant post-resurrection accounts (John 21:15-19), Jesus gently confronts Peter about his thrice-fold denial. He does it by asking Peter this question three times: “Do you love Me?”

There it is. That’s what Jesus desires. He desires our brotherly love. He doesn’t desire slaves to do His bidding, but brothers who know His heart and do His will. To put it even more simply, He desires us. Think for a moment about a time you felt desired. Perhaps it was sandlot ball as a boy when you were picked for a team. Or maybe it was a girl in high school who loved your company. Or perhaps being chosen for a job out of a huge pool of applicants. You know the feeling. Jesus desires You and the love You can offer. It’s our response to His brotherhood.

Experiencing the Brotherhood of Jesus

Some time ago, I was reading about another post-resurrection account in John (John 20:19-20). Here Jesus appears to His disciples and speaks peace into their fears. As I imagined the scene, Jesus came around to each of the disciples and spoke peace to each of them, touching them on the head. I was sitting in the circle as well, but when He came up to me, He suddenly said this: “O my brother, I have missed you.”

He could not have spoken seven words more prophetic or healing. Brotherly love was one of the great voids in my formative years. And thus much of my soul as a man lay unformed. But He was calling me His brother and then telling me that He missed that true man that lay buried, not the false man I had concocted to survive over the years. It was a turning point, one over which I still marvel.

What You Can Do

But how Jesus will approach you as a brother will be very different from my experience. What you can do though is position yourself to hear Him and receive His love. Here are two upcoming opportunities:

  1. The next Day of Silence will be July 27. This is a chance to step out of the relentless busyness of life and simply be with Jesus. There are 2 remaining spots. Click here for more information.
  2. The fall Heroic Retreat will be Oct. 23-25 at St. Meinrad. You will hear me teach, hear the stories of other men, and have times of silence with Jesus. Click here for more information.

He is not ashamed to call us brothers. Let that brotherhood of Jesus be your light today.

Bill

Photo Credit: Gonzalo Gutierrez via Wunderstock (license)

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