“So anyone who eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord unworthily is guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. That is why you should examine yourself before eating the bread and drinking the cup. For if you eat the bread or drink the cup without honoring the body of Christ, you are eating and drinking God’s judgment upon yourself. That is why many of you are weak and sick and some have even died.”
1Corinthians 11:27-30 NLT
I often choose to sit with the Lord and carefully ponder the day when I will stand before Him. Christians ought to do this every once in awhile in order to examine themselves and how they live out their faith. As Resurrection Sunday approaches I have allowed my thoughts to once again take me to that place, knowing without a doubt that one day it will inevitably happen.
On that day, I wouldn’t want to be the one who spit in His face, or pushed Him, or plucked His beard out. I wouldn’t want to be that one soldier that was the most aggressive that day, maybe trying to impress his superiors. I wouldn’t want to be the one sitting just below Him, eye level with drops of blood soaking into old dry wood & then walk away taking His robe. I wouldn’t want to be the one who can’t get their own mocking voice and cruel laughter out of their head from that day, or the one who pushed the long-thorned crown down tightly on His beaten head. Nor would I want to be the one who touched His skin by holding His arm and hand in just the right position for a nail to be hammered in. I wouldn’t want to be the one who confirmed with violent finality that He was truly dead by thrusting, with great force, a spear into His side.
The torture and abuse of the face and body of Jesus on crucifixion day made Him unrecognizable. His own mother may not have known who He was had she left His side that day. On that day when we all stand before Him, the men who touched, abused and mistreated the body of Christ will remember it vividly. The sense of touch, smell, and images of Christ will return to them, probably with great horror.
But today, 2000 years since the body of Jesus rose from the grave and ascended to the Father, I am reminded clearly in 1 Corinthians 12 that we, the church, are the Body of Christ. Verse 27 says, “All of you together are Christ’s body, and each of you is a part of it.” You and I are the channel that God has chosen to live in, work through and accomplish His will in this world. Paul said that the same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead now dwells in you and I. Jesus said that greater works will we do as His body because He goes to the Father.
This thought, of us being the body of Christ is a staggering but humbling thought. The Spirit of the living God lives in me, in us! God Himself, chose us to be the container of His presence here on this earth. As I allowed this thought to sink deep into my spirit, I had to ask myself this question; “What kind of a host have I been to the Holy Spirit of God?” Have I honored His body or have I dishonored His body?
Let me ask you the same question. What kind of a host have you been, how are you treating His body? Could it be that when you gossip about a brother or sister in the body you are slapping Jesus across the face? When you lie about another member of Christ’s body, is it as if you have spit on Him? When you do anything that spreads disunity or could cause division in Christ’s body, could it be that you are thrusting another spear in His side? Does your criticism of His body, cause Him to feel naked and ashamed? Do you cause Jesus pain every time you thoughtlessly talk negatively about His people and His church as a whole, or casually neglect them?
I wonder if today, like 2000 years ago, the Body of Jesus is almost beyond recognition to the world. The Bible clearly says, the world will know (recognize) we are His disciples by how we love one another.
There is another group of people who will stand before God one day. They too will remember well how they treated the Body of Christ. The secret disciple Joseph, who risked his life by asking if he could have the Body of Jesus to bury it. The men who lowered the cross, trying to lay it down gently, not to allow its weight to crash to the ground. The man who tried to pull the nails out of His hands and feet from under layers of crusted blood trying not to further tear His skin. The one who took a cloth and covered His nakedness, covering His shame. The one who pushed His matted, bloodied hair back off of His face. Nicodemus, who brought 75 pounds of perfumed ointment to anoint His body for burial. The women who washed His body, caked with blood and rinsed His hair clean. The women who anointed His now cleaned, but broken body, with burial perfumes, and tenderly wrapped Him. The ones who lifted Him and positioned Him on the slab of rock from which He would rise again.
They too will vividly remember how they treated the Body of Christ when they stand before Him one day. The sense of touch, smell, and images of Christ will return to them, not with great horror, but with great depth of love and honor.
You and I can be among those who bring healing to His Body. One who treats it tenderly, covering its shame. We can nourish, strengthen, feed, pray for, support, protect and defend the Body of Christ.
As Resurrection Weekend approaches it would be a good time to make a fresh commitment not only to Jesus as your Savior, but to His Body, His people, the church. Right now might be a good time to take a little grape juice, a piece of broken bread, symbols of the body and blood of Jesus, and ponder and pray about what you have just read. Who knows if this is the last Resurrection Weekend we will celebrate together before the fulfillment of this prophecy; “…For the time has come for the wedding feast of the Lamb, and His bride has prepared herself. She has been given the finest of pure white linen to wear. For the linen represents the good deeds of God’s holy people.” – Revelation 19: 7, 8
I love His church … His Body!
John 13:34 – “… I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are My disciples.”
Eph. 5:1 – “Imitate God, therefore in everything you do, because you are His dear children. Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ.
1 Peter 1:22 – “You were cleansed from your sins when you obeyed the truth, so now you must show sincere love to each other as brothers and sisters. Love each other deeply with all your heart.”
1 John 2:9 – “If anyone claims, “I am living in the light,” but hates a Christian brother or sister, that person is still living in darkness. Anyone who loves another brother or sister is living in the lights and does not cause others to stumble.”
1 John 4:7-12 – “Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God. But anyone who does not love does not know god, for god is love. God showed how much He loved us by sending His Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through Him. This is real love – not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins. Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other.”
All scriptures are taken from the NLT