- Tuesday, August 24, 2004
I don’t know how many brothers and sisters Jesus had, but there's a sibling rivalry that you'd never get over. I wonder if others complained to James, the brother of Jesus, "My parents are more proud of my brother than me, because he's a doctor."
Then James would say, "Yeah, well, my brother's God. And he can send my parents to hell. Who do you think they favor?"
When Jesus is twelve he just decides to hangout at the temple without telling his parents where he is or what time he'll be home. Only a twelve-year old who is God could get away with that, a fact that has been duly noted by comedians, journalists and playwrights throughout the years.
The firstborn often try and escape from their younger siblings for a little free time. Did you grow up with an annoying little brother or sister who used to follow you everywhere?
Yeah, I was that kid.
I used to follow my sister Debbie everywhere. She used to try to sneak away. But there I was, two blocks behind her, shouting, "Debbie! Debbie, wait up!"
"Why do you always have to follow me?"
"Well, I'm going to be a comedian when I grow up and I need the material."
That’s the great thing about siblings. You do one stupid little thing around a family member and they will remind you of it for the rest of your life. When my sister was a teenager she made grilled cheese sandwiches and forgot the cheese.
"Hey, sis, what's for dinner?"
"We’re having grilled cheese sandwiches. Oops --- we're having toast."
I still give her a hard time about it to this day. I find those birthday cards that have a little slot for money, but I don’t put any money inside. I just write, "Still no cheese."
When I visit for the holidays this year, this is my plan. I’m going to stand in the kitchen holding an empty fork over a lit burner and wait for her to walk-in and ask, "Whatta you doing?"
Then I’ll say, "I'm roasting marshmallows. Oops. Looks like I forgot something.”
This is the same sister who dropped me on my head when I was a baby. That's the irony. I'm the one who was dropped on his head as a baby but she's the one who can't remember one of the ingredients in a two-ingredient recipe. There's cheese and bread, unless you count butter as an ingredient. Maybe that's what threw her.
"Lets see --- there's butter and bread. What else goes in a grilled-cheese sandwich?”
You have to cut her some slack though, because if you butter two pieces of bread and place one on top of the other you can't really tell if something's between them or not.
I write this all with great affection for my sister (if you’re unable to tell because I’m making fun of her). I kid her, in that good-natured way that siblings can kid each other now that they’re grown. If we were still kids, she’d have me on the floor with both hands pulling the hair from my skull.
She never cared for my jokes when we were kids. But now that we’re grown she’s one of my biggest fans.
I wonder if Jesus experienced this with his siblings.
Did they ever kid him about things that happened while they were growing up? You know, Jesus finishes his parable about the lost sheep and one of his brothers goes, “Yeah, I remember when mom and dad lost you at the temple.”
The Scriptures do tell us that initially his siblings didn’t believe in him until after the resurrection. Then I bet they reacted differently. Some friend would brag about their sibling, “My brother’s President of the United States.”
Then James would say, “Yeah, well, my brother rose from the dead.”
They went from sibling rivalry to sibling worship. It’s the only way you can go when your brother’s God.
Friends love through all kinds of weather, and families stick together in all kinds of trouble. Proverbs 17:17 (MSG)
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