Come with me to the garden of the new creation. This is the morning of the resurrection, and Jesus is having a conversation with Mary Magdalene.
Mary realized that she is not talking with the gardener, she is speaking with Jesus. Jesus said (as John records for us),
Jesus said to her, “Do not hold me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” Mary Magdalene went and told the disciples, “I have seen the Lord!” —John 20:17-18a (modified RSV)
Paul wrote to the believers in Rome that Jesus is “the firstborn among many brothers” (Romans 8:29b).
In Hebrews 2:10-11 we read:
For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things, and through whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to perfect the author of their salvation through sufferings. For both He who sanctifies and those who are sanctified are all from one Father; for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren. (NASB)
Matthew, Mark and Luke all record a scene when Jesus clarified true relationships. Mark wrote it like this:
Then His mother and His brothers arrived, and standing outside they sent word to Him and called Him. A crowd was sitting around Him, and they said to Him, “Behold, Your mother and Your brothers are outside looking for You.”
Answering them, He said, “Who are My mother and My brothers?” Looking about at those who were sitting around Him, He said, “Behold My mother and My brothers! For whoever does the will of God, he is My brother and sister and mother.” —Mark 3:31-35 (NASB), see also Matthew 12:46-50 & Luke 8:19-21
We have a new name! A name that involves blood relatives. A name that includes an eternal inheritance. Not slave, or servant, or minister, or apostle, or disciple, or even friend—He calls us brother and sister.
Jesus’ work at the cross and His victory of resurrection changes everything, including our relationship with Him and one another.
Frank Viola said, “When we received eternal life, we received the same relationship that the Son has with the Father.” (Viola, From Eternity to Here, p. 249)
Viola goes on to write,
“Have you ever wondered if God loves you? That’s the wrong question. The right question is, ‘Does God love Christ?’ If the answer is yes, then you can rest assured that He loves you also. Why? Because you are inseparable from Christ.” —From Eternity to Here, p. 250
Before going to the cross, Jesus spoke with His Father and said, “You love them as much as you love Me.” (John 17:23)
Speak these facts to yourself to allow the truth to sink in. You are a beloved child of the King. You are inseparable from Christ.
When you meet fellow believers, say to yourself (or even out loud), “You are my brother.” “You are my sister.” This totally changes how we see one another.
We are joint heirs with Jesus. We, those of us who are in Him, are in the family of God.
Jesus is our Savior, Friend, and Older Brother! We know that He is with us. He will be with us to the end. Together we can place our trust in Him.