Todays readings.. Genesis 28&29, Psalm 33, Matthew 18
It is intriguing to compare the brothers we read of in the Old Testament compared to the New. We read today in Genesis (Ch, 27) of the friction between the twin brothers Jacob and Esau. We read yesterday that Esau had despised his birthright (Ch.25 v.34) and “sold” it to Jacob for some stew.
Today we read that Jacob, at the prompting of his mother had ‘stolen’’ the blessing Isaac intended for Esau (27 v.36) with the result that Esau had started to think of killing Jacob (v.42). This reminds us of the very first set of brothers, Cain and Abel: also of Joseph and his brothers; further still of David and his brothers!
Now when we come to the New Testament we are struck by the contrast, Among the 12 disciples that Jesus called (Matthew 4 v.18-21) and who travel with him are two sets of brothers, James and John and Simon Peter and Andrew. Now, there is no hint of jealousy between them, apart from the time they all came to Jesus asking who was going to be “the greatest in the kingdom” (Matt.18 v.1-4) causing Jesus to set a child in their midst and teach each of them the principle for his followers is to “humble himself like this child” – only then will greatness follow.
Human nature seems to be such that some brothers-in-the flesh are unable to get on well together. But when they come to Christ the scene changes for both are seeking to serve Christ – so human frictions should vanish under the Master’s influence. This should especially be the case when both are working side by side in the service of Jesus.
It seems that Peter had at least one other brother apart from Andrew and this brother was causing him much frustration. We assume this brother was not following Christ. It is most interesting to read the conversation which Peter and Jesus have about this problem.
“Peter came up and said … ‘Lord, how often will my brother sin against me and I forgive him? As many as seven times?’ Jesus said to him, ‘I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven. “[Ch.18 v.21,22] In the spirit of Christ there is no limit to the attitude of forgiveness. The same applies to sisters of course!
Do you recall what we read last week? Jesus said, “whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother” [Ch.12 v.50]
Let us all shed a little more light in this world of darkness by doing the will of the Father.