16th March 2014

I Am a Rock 

“Now the [one] body is not made up of one part but of many.… If the whole body were [a single] eye, where would the sense of hearing be? … If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body.”
1 Corinthians 12:17-20 (NIV UK)

During the 1960s, Simon and Garfunkel came out with the song, “I Am a Rock.” The lyrics went like this: “I have no need of friendship, friendship causes pain, its laughter and its love I disdain. I am a rock, I am an island.” While most would disagree with the idea of not needing friendship or love, there is, in the Christian world, the idea, “All I need is Jesus.” But is this really true?

God did not create us to be Christians in isolation. God is a relational being, and he made us in his image. So we were created for relationship and to live and work in community. The Bible uses several metaphors to make this clear.

Paul reminds us we are all part of one body. “The eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I don’t need you!’ And the head cannot say to the feet, ‘I don’t need you!’” (1 Corinthians 12:21). Then he goes on to say in verse 27, “Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.” Each of us is placed into the body of Christ making up a whole.

In another passage Paul asked the Corinthians: “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own” (1 Corinthians 6:19). The “you” here is plural, and “the temple” is singular. Paul is saying, “All of you together are a singular temple for the Holy Spirit.” God doesn’t have millions of little temples running around, he has one temple—the body. Together we make the dwelling for the Holy Spirit.

And in 1 Peter 2:5, Peter calls believers “living stones” who “are being built together into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood.” Again, the emphasis is not on the parts, but on the one spiritual house.

God has not called us to be rocks or islands. He has called us to be members of one body—Jesus Christ—who is the rock.

Magnificant Father, you give us so many different concepts which reveal so much about you. Help us to consider carefully, so as not to reduce these images into simpler, inaccurate pictures. We are one on one with you, but also a collective of the whole body of Christ, which is the church. In Jesus’s name we pray.

Study by Joseph Tkach


joeandtammyAbout the Author:
Joseph Tkach is the President of Grace Communion International (the Denominational name of The Worldwide Church of God UK), and resides in California, USA.

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