by Graham Mol
“The Body of Christ,” I’m sure you have heard this term used before and many of you likely understand its meaning. Yet for the sake of all of us being on the same page let me give a brief explanation. The Body of Christ is a metaphor that is used in the Bible to describe the Church. That’s not Church as in the building, but rather all the people who follow Jesus. It is everyone who has received salvation through Jesus, both past and present. The Bible makes it clear that all who believe are not isolated individuals but are all connected to one another.
The following passage sums up quite nicely why and how we believers are called “The Body of Christ”:
The Church is called “one body in Christ” in Romans 12:5, “one body” in 1 Corinthians 10:17, “the body of Christ” in 1 Corinthians 12:27 and Ephesians 4:12, and “the body” in Hebrews 13:3. The Church is clearly equated with “the body” of Christ in Ephesians 5:23 and Colossians 1:24.
When Christ entered our world, He took on a physical body “prepared” for Him (Hebrews 10:5; Philippians 2:7). Through His physical body, Jesus demonstrated the love of God clearly, tangibly, and boldly—especially through His sacrificial death on the cross (Romans 5:8). After His bodily ascension, Christ continues His work in the world through those He has redeemed—the Church now demonstrates the love of God clearly, tangibly, and boldly. In this way, the Church functions as “the Body of Christ.”
~ from Got Questions
We, the Church, are the body while Jesus is the head. As we follow Him together we function as a whole. Yes there are many different and diverse congregations, just as there are many different and diverse people within each of those congregations. Yet despite these differences we are all united. However, because of the fallen nature of this world and that we are imperfect people who are on a journey of being sanctified (that is, becoming more like Jesus), this unity is not always as it should be. Nevertheless, how wonderful it is when we as believers love one another and work together as one body.
For this to happen, we all have a role to play:
From [Jesus] the whole body, fitted and knit together by every supporting ligament, promotes the growth of the body for building itself up in love by the proper working of each individual part. (Ephesians 4:16)
What this means is that when we each play our part, when we fulfil the unique task given to us, the Body of Christ grows and strengthens. We will be more effective in doing Jesus’ work in the world as we embody His love.
What this means is that YOU have a role to play. God has created you with unique character traits, talents and abilities that will bless the Body of Christ. No one is irrelevant, no one is too unimportant to contribute. We cannot just be passive hearers of the Word, we need to be doers.
What is God calling you to do or be next for the sake of His body? What opportunities can you see to build up yourself and those around you in love? Take some time to seek the Lord and ask Him to show you what you can do for the Body of Christ.