Mystical Body Parts
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24. Mystical Body Parts

Human Ears

Human Ankle X RayMany individuals make up the mystical body of Christ. In the human frame, various body parts perform different functions to make the whole operate efficiently. A foot as the support to a leg differs from a hand or an ear. A hand may be able to manipulate a small delicate object like a pair of tweezers but it cannot hold up the whole body for an extended period like the feet. An athlete works the pommel horse, swinging her body in ever-widening sweeps, all supported on her hands. How glad those wrists and fingers are to exit the performance and return to their normal duties without all that weight and stress! The role of some mystical body parts is not apparent at first. Though the appearance of our ears is not particularly impressive, their job is vital to your body. They could feel depressed because they are not as large as our feet or cannot move like our arms or fingers. They may not be able to wiggle but their auditory messages and their sense of balance inform our brain as to what's going on around us. If our ears or balance fails, we could stagger and even fall. Ears are therefore important body parts. What organ or limb do you represent in your Christian household?

What are You?

FingersBody parts in the Mystical Body of Christ are like human body parts which have an important function in a human body. The various parts of the Mystical Body operate as one. Jane as an ear in the Body of Christ is a very thoughtful person who thinks things out carefully and always makes a positive contribution. Her skillful listening and attentive hearing help settle disputes between others. Bill as a hand is quite different as he is a doer rather than a talker. He responds generously and quickly to others' needs by mending a washer or carrying a bag of food to a needy family. God uses the differences between Jane and Bill to do his work more effectively. Adrian Plass (1948- ) the British Christian author and speaker humorously considers the different mystical body parts in his book "Sacred Diary." "Anne started by saying that she thought she was probably a bit of dried skin on the elbow, but Edwin, bless him, said that he thought she was much nearer the heart than that." "Thynn said he was a left shoulder blade for some obscure reason, and Norma Twill said she thought she might be a dimple. Couldn't think what I was, and dismissed Thynn's assessment of me as a small, unimportant vein in the right foot."

Artificial Body Parts

Artificial LimbChrist's Mystical Body contains some artificial limbs! An artificial body part is also called a "prosthetic" or "prosthesis" by the medical community and would certainly be immensely important and invaluable to someone who has lost a limb in an accident. In the Body of Christ, there should be no artificial body parts because they have no life within them. Some Christians, who make a decision for Christ but do not become disciples, are like a glass eye or a prosthetic limb in the Body of Christ. They look as though they are alive, but no life flows through them. Belonging to the Household Body of Christ involves a physical involvement with Christ which is much more than membership of a church club. Two Christians were talking together and one said, "Isn't it wonderful to be safe in the arms of Jesus?" "Yes," replied the other, "but I am safer than that. I am as safe as an arm of Jesus, for I am a member of his body, of his flesh, and his bones." We may try to convince ourselves that one can be a Christian without being a disciple but active discipleship is logically and biblically the only sure sign of membership in the Body of Christ.✞

Team Members

Football Team in BlueEach member of the Body of Christ relies on and supports the others. Some church members hardly ever darken the door of the church but are deeply offended when it is suggested they ought to worship with others weekly. Some Christians say, "I believe in Jesus," but are not prepared to serve Him in the fellowship of the Body of Christ. Belief without belonging is like being,✞

Christian Tree Branches

Boy's HeadJohn 15 is a beautiful allegory describing the relationship of Christ and his disciples like a vine and its branches. An allegory is a picture that can be interpreted to reveal a hidden meaning. Christians are like tree branches springing out from Christ the trunk. When they function properly they produce fruit but otherwise, they die and are pruned off. This passage from John 15 is found interestingly towards the end of Jesus' ministry as his crucifixion approaches. Normally the branches produce flowers and then fruit but when this fails they are redundant and are trimmed by the gardener. This separation from the supportive tree trunk, Jesus himself, like the pruning of branches is always a dangerous possibility for the Christian. The dead limb may become a threat to the others and must be cut off. It was once a normal but is now a cancerous part and threatens the tree itself. The parable of the vine and the branches suggest that contact with Christ can be severed completely. John 15.1-2 says in the words of Jesus, "I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. We note in the text that the Greek for "he prunes" also means "he cleans." Jesus is also recorded as saying in John 15.6, "If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers." Christ himself and not the other branches separate the dead part from the tree to allow the rest to grow on unimpeded. Saint Paul warns the members of the Colossian church of this possibility in Colossians 2.19 writing, "He has lost connection with the Head, from whom the whole body, supported and held together by its ligaments and sinews, grows as God causes it to grow."

Christian Sheep Flock

Wolf in a Sheep's ClothingThe church is also like a Christian sheep flock. Beware of wolves in sheep's clothing, tares in the wheat or even goats that shouldn't be there. In any flock of sheep, there are wolves in sheep's clothing according to Jesus' teaching. Thankfully, God generally drives out these imposters from the legitimate Body of Christ. Real sheep are easily lost and led astray and therefore need a shepherd to guide them. Jesus, the Good Shepherd declares in John 10.16, "They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd." Besides the imagery of the sheep flock, Jesus similarly describes a wheat field and tares. The word "weeds" is translated from the Greek "zizania" growing in the same field. This word is thought to mean "darnel," a "ryegrass which looks much like wheat in its initial growth." Roman law prohibited the sowing of tares amongst wheat as a criminal act. In Matthew 13.24-30 we read, "Jesus told them another parable, 'The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared.' 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?' 'An enemy did this,' he replied. The servants asked him, 'Do you want us to go and pull them up?' 'No,' he answered, 'because while you are pulling the weeds, you may uproot the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters. First, collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned, then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.'" In this same way, the Body of Christ is sown like good seed in a field but while everyone is asleep, an enemy comes and plants weeds which look similar to the genuine seed but grow differently. The young inexperienced farmer may be tempted to pull out the rogue plants as soon as they appear, but in the process, he would, unfortunately, uproot the good stems too. A wiser head permits both to grow until the harvester can separate them. So it is with Christians in the Kingdom of God!

"Mystical Body Parts"
by Ron Meacock © 2019

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