Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | May 10, 2018

“There is one body” – “the building up of the body of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith”

Today’s devotion comes from Matthew 12:46-50.

“While He was still speaking to the crowds, behold, His mother and brothers were standing outside, seeking to speak to Him.  Someone said to Him, “Behold, Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside seeking to speak to You.”  But Jesus answered the one who was telling Him and said, “Who is My mother and who are My brothers?”  And stretching out His hand toward His disciples, He said, “Behold My mother and My brothers!  For whoever does the will of My Father who is in heaven, he is My brother and sister and mother.”  Matthew 12:46-50.


Today’s Scripture does not teach us to neglect our duty to take care of our mother or father or even brothers or sisters.

Even with the weight of the world on Jesus at the pinnacle of His mission on earth at the cross, Jesus carefully took time to care for His mother by transferring the care of His mother from Himself before he died (and later resurrected and ascended to heaven) to His beloved disciple John.  John 19:26-27.

Jesus also prioritized the financial care of parents over offerings to the church.  “For God said, ‘HONOR YOUR FATHER AND MOTHER,’ and, ‘He who speaks evil of father or mother is to be put to death.’  But you say, ‘Whoever says to his father or mother, “Whatever I have that would help you has been given to God,” he is not to honor his father or his mother.’  And by this you invalidated the word of God for the sake of your tradition.”  Matthew 15:4-6.

In summary, consider these very strong words about the importance of financial care of our household family members.  “But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.”  1 Timothy 5:8.

Rather, today’s Scripture teach us of the oneness that we have with fellow Christians and the spiritual care that we should give fellow Christians.

The context of this Scripture is that Jesus was teaching the crowds.  He was providing spiritual care for the crowds.

Although Jesus did provide physical bread through His miracles, most importantly, He provided spiritual bread.

Yes, we can and should give to the poor.  “So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith.”  Galatians 6:10.  “For you always have the poor with you, and whenever you wish you can do good to them;  but you do not always have Me.”  Mark 14:7.

But, in comparison, notice how specific and directed and emphasized is the spiritual care that we should give to fellow Christians in the following Ephesians chapter 4.  We and fellow Christians are one body of Christ, and we should spiritually build up this body of Christ.

Other doctrine seem to be social missions in which there is little difference between the secular and the religious.

But, Reformed Doctrine sees the primary mission of the church to provide spiritual care for fellow Christians.

There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling;  one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all.  …

And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ;  until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.”  Ephesians 4:4-6 and 11-13.


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