One Body, Many Parts

3rd Sunday in Epiphany
Scripture: 1 Corinthians 12:12-31

There is no other illustration more famous to show and express the unity of the church than the human body. Men and women have always been fascinated in the way in which the different parts of the body cooperate. Plato draws these famous pictures describing the human body:

  • "The head was a citadel."
  • "The neck is the isthmus between the head and the body."
  • "The heart is the fountain of the body."
  • "The pores the lanes of the body."
  • "The veins the canals of the body."

Thus Paul drew his picture of the church as a body. While there are many parts of a body, the one essential for the body is unity. Unity in the church of God on earth is essential for producing new life for Christ on earth. Paul takes a second giant step here. "You – we – are the body of Christ."

Jesus Christ is no longer walking physically in a human form on earth, therefore if He wants the task done for Him within the world, He has given the task to you and me. If He wants a sick person cured, He finds a host of persons in the medical field to aid him.

A child needs to be taught, so He equipped us with an educational system to fulfill that task. We have to be the body of Christ. An old poem goes:

"He has no hands but our hands
to do his work today
He has no feet but our feet
to lead men women in his way
He has no voice but our voice
to tell men women how he died
He has no help but our help
to lead them to his side."

Here Paul draws a picture of the unity which must exist inside the church. If the church is to fulfill it’s greatest purpose and function. We ought to realize that we need each other. There is no such thing as isolation of one another in the church. Far too often that happens when people get so engrossed in their bit of work, sensing it has some supreme importance.

We ought to respect each other. In the body there are no questions of the relative importance of each part of our physical bodies and the church body. We ought to sympathize with one another. If any part of the body is failing, ill, the whole body suffers. From time to time, we all cause the body of Christ, the church, to suffer.

If the true function of the living church is the presence of Christ, there must be unity. Let us pray.