Brothers and Bullies

Isaac Serrano
Jun 11, 2017
1 John 3:11-24
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I love my brother. He’s a couple of years older than me, and definitely wiser. I remember a time when I was a preschooler, and I was in daycare after school. As I was playing inside the giant cement tunnel in the lower playground at St. Marks Episcopal, I came face-to-face with my first “bully.” I am not sure, but I think his name was Jimmy Spears (yep, it sounds ominous because it was). He was a few grades older than me, and maybe a grade above my brother. He called me “kid” and you know how that sets me off (see Session 3). Anyway, I was being harassed for no apparent reason and I felt trapped. I didn’t even know he was around, but I remember my brother appearing out of nowhere. I don’t recall if it got physical, but if it did, I know the scuffle ended with heroic music, Spears on his rear-end, and my brother, victorious, reaching his massive first-grade arm around me to shepherd me to safety. On that day, the powers of evil were defeated. About a decade later, when my father died of colon cancer, my brother became the most important male role model in my life. It’s not like we don’t have differences or we spend every week on the phone, but deep down I know our “blood” means something. I can count on his counsel and care, but not every sibling story is the same as mine. John writes as a subject within the Roman Empire, and the city of Rome at the center of the Empire was said to be founded by twin brothers, Romulus and Remus. One version of the myth describes them born to a princess by the god Mars and hunted by an evil uncle. Together they help defeat that uncle and found the city of Rome, but disagreeing on which hill would be best to found the city upon, Romulus kills Remus. This is a different kind of brotherhood. So far, John has reinforced proper foundational faith and ethics using familial language like “beloved” and “little children,” but here he makes a sharp distinction between two types of brotherhood, one good and one evil.

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Isaac Serrano is Lead Teaching Pastor of South Valley Community Church. He likes talking theology, history, and culture. Isaac lives in Gilroy with his family. On his days off, he likes to go fishing and venture outdoors. Isaac serves on the leadership board for the Regeneration Project and the school board of Pacific Point Christian Schools.

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