I have been blogging on the Body of Christ. First, I started out defining the Body of Christ. (Click here for that blog.) Then I shared a personal story of how the Lord humbled my thinking on this subject. (Click here for that blog.) Finally, I want to talk about unity in the body of Christ.
We are all a part of one body:
18But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. 19If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20As it is, there are many parts, but one body.
24…But God has combined the members of the body and has given greater honor to the parts that lacked it, 25so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. 26If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. [1 Corinthians 12:12-21]
Now call to mind Jesus’ prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane:
20“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: 23I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. [John 17:20-23]
I tried to help you out by putting some of the text in bold, but just in case you missed it, Jesus wants us to be one. He is all but begging in His prayer that we become one. So, not only does St. Paul teach/preach it, but it is the desire of our Lord.
Brothers and sisters, I understand that some of us might feel that other Christians don’t have sound doctrine. But, when we persecute each other, taking jabs here and there, thinking that our way is the only way, insulting and slandering each other, we are not one.
Let’s look to Jesus to drive home the point:
The Parable of the Weeds
24Jesus told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. 25But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. 26When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared.
27“The owner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’
28” ‘An enemy did this,’ he replied.
“The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’
29” ‘No,’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may root up the wheat with them.
Just so we understand what Jesus meant by His parable, let’s read as He explains:
36Then he left the crowd and went into the house. His disciples came to him and said, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds in the field.”
37He answered, “The one who sowed the good seed is the Son of Man. 38The field is the world, and the good seed stands for the sons of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one, 39and the enemy who sows them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels.
40“As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age. 41The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. 42They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 43Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear. [Matthew 13:36-43]
Let’s also remember the time told in both the Gospels of Mark and Luke, where the disciples tried to stop a man from driving out demons in the name of Jesus because the man wasn’t one of them. What did Jesus say? “Do not stop him, for whoever is not against you is for you.” [Mark 9:38-41 | Luke 9:49-50]
The footnote in my bible put it well, “…his [Jesus'] followers (aka Christians) will not all resemble each other or belong to the same groups. People who are on Jesus’ side have the same goal of building up the kingdom of God, and they should not let their differences interfere with this goal. Those who share a common faith in Christ should cooperate. People don’t have to be just like us to be following Jesus with us.”
Let me challenge you. If Christians are all part of the body of Christ, and we persecute each other, then are we not crucifying the mystical body of Christ? When we persecute each other, are we not doing the same thing as the Jews did when they crucified our Lord? Seriously, as Christians, Christ dwells within us. (It is not up to us to decide in whom Christ is dwelling. That is His choice, so I urge you to be careful if you think that Christ does not dwell in all Christians.) When we persecute each other, we are persecuting Him.
Please don’t think that if you believe Christ is not dwelling in another that it is OK to persecute. I’ll repeat, it is not up to us to know in whom God/Jesus has chosen to dwell. And a reminder, we are called to LOVE, and the last time I checked persecuting someone is not the same thing. For that which you do to the least of these, you do also to Him.
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