Brothers and Sisters
A brother is born to help in time of need (v.17).
Julian and Adrian Riester were born in Buffalo, New York, in 1919. The identical twins lived their lives in sync—attending the same schools (where they enjoyed switching identities and fooling teachers) and taking many trips together over their 92 years on earth. Eventually, they both became Franciscan friars and spent most of their time at New York’s St. Bonaventure University, serving as craftsmen and gardeners. In June 2011, they both died at the same hospital within hours of each other.Scripture speaks of a brotherhood (and sisterhood) within the family of God, a community that creates a radical, shared life. In the Bible, two of the most frequent terms used to describe those in God’s community are brothers and sisters (for example: “Dear brothers and sisters . . .” Romans 10:1). And this isn’t simply a metaphor. Rather, the New Testament insists that—with God as our Father and Jesus as our brother—our unity in Jesus Christ truly makes us a new kind of family. In God’s family we’re called to be at one another’s side in moments of sorrow as well as during moments of joy. We’re “born to help in time of need” (Proverbs 17:17). We stay with one another when it’s comfortable and when it’s hard, when it’s to our advantage and when it costs us dearly. When it seems like a natural response and when it goes against every natural instinct. “A friend is always loyal,” says the proverb (v.17). This kind of brotherhood and countercultural friendship reveals to the world that a new order has been set in motion. God has created a new kind of family in the world. This is a place where we receive and give the love and the help we all so desperately need.
Read 1 John 4:7-21. Observe how many times the word love is used. The author says he’s writing to “friends” (v.7). What’s the connection between biblical friendship and biblical love?
Who are your brothers and sisters—your friends? How can you give yourself to them in ways that reflect God’s vision for a new kind of family?