The next day the large crowd that had come to the feast heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem. So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, crying out, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel!” And Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it, just as it is written, “Fear not, daughter of Zion; behold, your king is coming, sitting on a donkey’s colt!” (John 12:12-15 ESV)
Over the past few weeks, we have covered a decent amount of ground. I know that I have probably not done this topic justice, but let me give a brief summary of what it was that I was trying to get across.
All of us are indeed our brother’s keeper. This idea has been true from creation to the present and it is never going to change. While family in the Old Testament referred specifically to blood relation, in the New Testament, Jesus expanded the boundaries of who is included in this relationship. The family, that once consisted merely of blood, was expanded to include other disciples and immediate followers of Jesus. But Jesus doesn’t stop there, and in one sentence He shatters even that understanding of family and expands it to include whoever does God’s will.
Now, to this point, what God’s will is has not been properly defined. So, today I would briefly like to do that and then begin a week-long discussion on what the implications are of being our brother’s keeper.
God’s Will Defined
He has shown all you people what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. (Micah 6:8 TNIV)
Some of my responders, in defining God’s will, limited God’s will to getting saved. Now, while believing in Jesus as the Messiah and making Him lord of your life is vitally important, this is not all that God demands of people. As we saw in the passage above, God wants more than relifious duties. As Paul states in 1 Corinthians 13,
If I speak in human or angelic tongues, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. (1 Corinthians 13:1-2 TNIV)
And as Jesus said before him,
Not everyone who says to me, “Lord, Lord,” will enter the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 7:21a ESV)
religion is not all that God demands. God also demands justice, love, and mercy, to name a few. And anyone who does these things is doing God’s will.
Since we now have an understanding of God’s will that consists of more than simply “getting saved;” and since Jesus has expanded the family (or at least those who we are to treat as our family), what are the implications? How does “Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother,” impact the truth that we are our brother’s keeper?
The first thing this should do is humble us. I want you to see one important detail in the Palm Sunday text:
Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it (John 12:14a ESV)
Jesus, the King of all kings, rode into the city where His throne will later reside on a donkey. Jesus, “who was made lower than the angels for a little while” (Hebrews 28b TNIV), humbled Himself even further by riding into His earthly kingdom on a donkey. This is Jesus setting us an example.
This earth is our kingdom. In the beginning, God set people as rulers over the earth (Psalm 8:6-8). But this is not license to exploit and abuse the earth. Rather, this one fact is intended to humble us. The Psalmist states,
[W]hat are mere mortals that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them? (Psalm 8:4 TNIV)
In the same way that being made the rulers of creation should humble us, knowing that our family is anyone who is doing God’s will should humble us.
We are our brother’s keeper. We are our family’s keeper. We are each other’s keeper.
This is big. I pray that we would all see it as such.