The Body of Christ
What is meant by “the body of Christ”? This expression, or its equivalent, is used in at least three senses:
1) The body in which He lived. “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us…” (John 1:14). “…in the days of his flesh” (Heb. 5:7), Jesus had a human body just like ours. “…and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross…” (1 Peter 2:24 NASB). It was necessary for Him to have this body so He could die in our place (Heb. 2:14-15; 10:5-10; Col. 1:21-22). This is the body Joseph buried in his own new tomb (Matt. 27:58-60). This is the body God raised on the third day. Seeing and touching His resurrected body turned doubtful disciples into bold eyewitnesses (Luke 24:36- 40; John 20:19-29; Acts 1:1-3, 21-22; 2:32; 3:15; 4:18 20; 5:27-32, 40-42; 10:40-42).
2) The body of which we partake. Taking bread the night before He died, Jesus said to His disciples, “This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me” (Luke 22:19). Doing this each Lord’s Day draws us together: “Is not the bread which we break a sharing in the body of Christ? Since there is one bread, we who are many are one body; for we all partake of the one bread” (1 Cor. 10:16b-17 NASB).
3) The body to which we belong. In his letter to the Corinthians, Paul wrote, “Now you are Christ’s body, and individually members of it” (1 Cor. 12:27 NASB). The church is the body of Christ (Eph. 1:22-23; Col. 1:18, 24). He is the Savior of this body (Eph. 5:23), and He is its head (Col. 1:18). Our Head is in heaven, and as His body we do His will here on earth. Heaven and earth are thus tied together in a dynamic, working partnership. What a privilege it is to be a functioning member of the body of Christ!
In heaven Jesus now has His glorious body (Phil. 3:21). Someday we will be like Him, and we will see Him as He is (1 Cor. 15:42-43, 49; 1 John 3:2). This is our hope!