When I think of the word “Firstborn,” I think of my sister, Annie. By six years, she is the eldest (a phrase I used to drive her crazy when we were younger). She is also the eldest of our entire extended family. As the prized first grandchild, she was adored and coddled. Grandparents, too, are excited to see their genetics passed on to the next generation.
There is plenty of uninterrupted time together to build that special relationship between parent and first child. Firstborns often get the benefit of having parents read to the them every night until they are old enough to enter school. New parents pour everything into and try everything out on these “firsts”–the latest technology, parenting ideas, whatever–seeing how much they can learn and absorb. They are cooed over endlessly with sighs of delight; first milestones are thoroughly detailed, endlessly documented, and thoroughly celebrated.
In your parents’ eyes, when you’re the one and only child–the Firstborn–the earth, moon and stars revolve around you!
Now, my mom was a single working parent of the seventies and eighties. Annie had a lot of responsibility for me, showing me many things while Mom was making a paycheck to put groceries on the table.
Big Sister became a role model. She was so cool, I wanted to walk like her, dress like her, speak like her and act like her. I wanted to drive the same car when I grew up and be a great soccer player like her, too (BTW: fails on both accounts!). And man, did she have a lot of friends around her all the time. Come to think of it, I think I wanted to BE her! Empathetic, always caring for me, helping me maneuver the waters of growing up, protecting me, standing up for me, Annie was a good older sibling. When I was sad, she comforted me. When I was confused or upset, she talked me through it.
When I was writing this post I had to check in with Annie to make sure she was okay with what I was writing. She was quick to remind me of all the funny things she did to me when we kids. For example, I still have a scar over my eyebrow from when she threw a rock at me when we were little. I call it “Target Practice.” She said she also used to throw apples from the orchard and horse poop at my horse to make it run faster as I was riding it. I learned to hold on; she was just making me into a better horseman. When my parents told her she was going to have a baby sister, she flatly retorted, “That’s nice. Can I go outside and play now?”
Well, she wasn’t perfect…she wasn’t Jesus!
Annie got to sit at the grownup table years before any of the rest of us. She also had more responsibilities earlier, too. My big sister led the way for me in many respects.
This is what the Firstborn does–the Firstborn blazes the trail for the rest of us.
When I polled people on Facebook to give me a description of “Firstborn,” it was so interesting to read the comments (ironically, mostly were given by firstborns!):
Responsible–the word most often given–followed by Leader, Communicator/Connector, Rule Follower/Type A, Achiever/Driven. There were other descriptions but these were the main ones given time and again. I began to think about how these characteristics describe Jesus.
Responsible. Jesus was responsible for the entirety of humanity’s sin, to make it right before God Almighty by His time on the cross at Calvary.
Is He Leader–yes, He leads us in our faith and He is the reason FOR our faith.
Is He Communicator/Connector–yes, He is physical image, the representative, of God and in Him all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, according to Colossians 2:9. Jesus is the bridge between divine and human, between Father and children.
Was Jesus a Rule Follower? Absolutely, perfectly. But not just that, He brought something so much better than the legalistic laws that were impossible for any 100% human to truly keep. He ushered in the Holy Spirit to remind and teach us every “rule” we needed to follow–love God above all else and love our neighbors as ourselves.
Was Christ an Achiever, driven to persevere through until the end? “For the joy set before him, he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of God.” (Hebrews 12:2)
Don’t you find it fascinating that the characteristics of Jesus, both God and Man, as firstborn are manifested in human firstborns here on earth?
How would you describe Firstborns? How are those characteristics like Jesus? We’d love to hear from you in the COMMENTS below!