There is a contrast between the brothers we read of in the Old Testament compared to the New. We read today in Genesis 27 of the friction between the twin brothers Jacob and Esau. We read earlier that Esau had despised his birth right (25:34) and Jacob bought it for some stew. Today we read that Jacob, at the prompting of his mother had ‘stolen’ the blessing Isaac intended for Esau (27:36) with the result that Esau had started to think of killing Jacob (verse 42). This reminds us of the very first pair of brothers, Cain and Abel, of Joseph and his brothers and of David and his brothers!

Now when we come to the New Testament we are struck by the contrast; among the twelve disciples that Jesus called (Matthew 4:18-21) were two sets of brothers, James and John and Simon Peter and Andrew. Now, there is no hint of jealousy between them, apart from the problem all twelve experienced (prior to the crucifixion of their Master) seeking to know who was going to be the greatest in the kingdom (Matthew 8:1-4).

Human nature seems to be such that brothers-in-the-flesh fail to get on well together. However, when they come to Christ the scene changes for both are seeking to serve Christ so human frictions disappear under his 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. We will read tomorrow 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’” (18:21,22). In the spirit of Christ there is no limit to the attitude of forgiveness. Jesus said, “whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother” (12:50). Let us all shed a little more light in this world of darkness by doing the will of the Father.