As we all begin this journey together, it is fitting we get underway with this specific devotion. Who are you? That is a rather broad question; yet if Jesus is your savior and Lord, the answer to that question becomes very narrow.
I will focus this week on scripture that is found in our Oct. 2nd reading. Paul says in Ephesians 1:22-23, “And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.” (NASB)
These verses speak of God the Father in reference to God the Son. Jesus was given and the benefactor of that unfathomable gift is the church. The church, which is spoken of as Christ’s body, reaps all the unsearchable dividends of being related to Jesus.
What I find curious in these verses is the Apostle Paul’s use of the word translated in English “fullness” from its original language. Does it mean, as in an active sense of translating the word, that Christ fills the church and also all things as well? Of course we know He fills the church so this would be a proper understanding.
However, what if we considered the word in a passive manner of translating it? Could it be that in some strange way the church fulfills Christ, who Himself fills all things in every way? And if so, what would that look like? I think a clue can be found in what Luke writes at the beginning of his book known as Acts. He says, “The first account I composed, Theophilus, about all that Jesus began to do and teach,” (Acts 1:1 NASB). Luke’s “first account” is what we call the Gospel of Luke. Since this is true, what does Luke mean here in Acts when he says all that Jesus “began” to do? Isn’t his gospel a record of Jesus’ birth, life, death, and resurrection? I thought Luke did a good job at covering all the bases regarding Jesus.
In order to understand this, we need to realize the Gospel of Luke is about what Jesus does in His Body. The Acts of the Apostles is about what Jesus does in His Body. Do you see the difference?
Let’s get back to the first question I asked. Who are you? Do you realize that you are an eternal being? Your mind (or conscience) and spirit will live forever. Even so, in a physical environment, how do your mind and spirit operate? Thoughts are expressed through a mouth, movements, facial expressions, and so forth. Thoughts are received through sound, sight, taste, touch, feeling. A will is carried out through feet that take your mind and spirit where you wish to go and eyes that light the way. In other words, your soul and spirit cannot function without a body. What is a body? It is the means whereby a spiritual being functions in a physical environment. Jesus functioned in the Gospel of Luke in His human body. Jesus functioned in the Acts of the Apostles in a little group of believers in this city and a little group of believes in that city… His church!
Remember Jesus told His disciples that He had to go away so that God the Holy Spirit could come. Since that is the case, dare we say that He lacks (not a good allusion to use when speaking about God… only for expression of the idea I’m trying to convey) something? And could that which He lacks be the means whereby a Spiritual Being functions in a physical environment? And could that be His body, the church?
No wonder the Apostle Paul often used analogies for the church such as hands, feet, eyes, and ears! Who are you? If Jesus lives in your heart, you ARE the church! Now that is exciting!!
One more thing… With what I have just said, you might be intimidated at the idea of fulfilling such a lofty role. Consider a verse from our Oct. 3rd reading. “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” (Eph. 2:10 NASB) I prefer the New American Standard’s rendering of this verse to our devotional Bible. It uses the word workmanship rather than creation. The original word carries the connotation of masterpiece, or work of art! We have been created IN CHRIST JESUS for good works… which He prepared beforehand!! So be the eye, the ear, the mouth, the hand, the feet, whatever you are created to be all for His glory! The pressure is not on you to perform; He has even taken care of what you are supposed to be and do so you are completely free to LOVE Him!!!
YOU ARE THE CHURCH. BE THE CHURCH.