Date Posted: October 24th, 2011
“God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body.” Ephesians 1:22-23
Think about what happens when you pick up a pen: The desire of the head is communicated through the body, and members of the body collaborate to fulfill the command. The arm stretches out, the fingers gather, the thumb presses against them in order to form a grip and the arm lifts… The head acts through the body.
By describing Himself as “the head” and the church as “his body,” Christ is telling us that He’s chosen to do His work through the church. You might be thinking, “That sounds limiting. I’d rather do my own thing for Jesus.” Maybe you would, but is that what Christ wants you to do?
Christ is the head of the church
The church belongs to Christ, not because we have made Him ours, but because He has made us His. Christ has gathered us together. We are His people. The body serves at the direction of the head. Our calling is to be responsive to Him.
Every member of the body must be connected to the head
Have you committed yourself as a member of a local church? If not, why not? How can you grow? How can you serve, if you’re not a member of a local church? Why would you think that staying detached is something Christ wants you to do?
When Jesus was arrested, Peter drew his sword and cut off the ear of Malchus, the high priest’s servant. What use is an ear when it’s severed from the body? The body needs the ear and the ear needs the body. Can you imagine Jesus picking up this man’s ear and healing him (Luke 22:51)?
If you’re a Christian who’s disconnected from the body, I’m praying that through the Scriptures you’ll hear the Holy Spirit saying to you today, “This is where you belong. Here is where I am placing you to do my will.”
Every member of the body must be responsive to the head
There is a story in the New Testament about a man who had a shriveled hand. The hand was connected to the body, but it wasn’t doing anything useful. It had lost the capacity to function. There was a breakdown between the commands of the brain and the function of this limb.
Christ said to this man, “Stretch out your hand.” That was the one thing this man could not do. “Jesus, what do you mean, stretch out your hand?” But Jesus said, “Stretch out your hand,” and the Bible says, “He stretched it out and his hand was completely restored” (Mark 3:5).
Maybe you’ve come to think of yourself as someone who is unable to function and who has nothing to contribute. But when you’re connected to Jesus Christ, you draw life from Him. If this is true of you today, His Spirit lives in you and He says to you today, “Stretch out your hand.” You are able to fulfill the work He has for you to do.
Every member of the body will suffer with the head
You cannot be a pastor, a missionary or a faithful member of a local church without suffering wounds. The physical body of Christ was lacerated, pierced and broken. If you devote your life to serving Christ, you will have scars and wounds to show for it.
Some of you struggle with scars that came to you in the course of serving Christ. Scars suffered in the body are evidence that we’re joined to the head, who wore a crown of thorns, and whose hands and feet were pierced. The body of Christ will always be known by its scars.
Every member of the body will be glorified with the head
One day the scarred body of the church, that has so often been feeble and hated and persecuted by the world, will be taken up and transformed like Christ’s glorious body. The head that was once crowned with thorns is now crowned with glory. The body that’s known by its scars, will one day be known instead by its glory, and when you see it you’ll say, “I’m so glad I belong to this body, of which Christ is its glorious head.”
This LifeKEY is based on the message, “The Body: Christ’s Working Through the Church” by Pastor Colin S. Smith, from the series, “Sharing the Passion of Jesus Christ”, originally preached July 17, 2011.