(The Resurrection of Christ by Irina Kolbneva, see www.arthit.ru)
Eph 1: “…what is the immeasurable greatness of his power to us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ [Messiah] when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come.
“And he put all things 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.”
(The word ‘Christ’ means ‘Messiah’, and I like the word ‘Messiah’ because it seems to carry more meaning to me than the Greek word ‘Christ’.)
The Christian idea that the church is the body of Messiah is a very mysterious and very interesting idea, one that encourages me greatly but also challenges me in terms of my work and purpose in my life.
The Scriptures are emphatic that the church is the actual, real, body of Messiah Jesus – in a spiritual way, of course, but a spiritually practical way.
As the body of Messiah we carry the same authority of Lord Messiah, who is Jesus. I’m speaking about it in this way because the word Christ is often used as a surname for Jesus rather than a title. Messiah means “anointed, chosen saviour”. So, in a very spiritual way the church is the anointed, chosen saviour’s body.
This means we carry the anointing (the call, commission and ability) of Messiah, which is an anointing to save, heal, bind up the brokenhearted, and set the captives free (Isaiah 61). It also means we are to carry the sufferings of Messiah, which was a suffering of persecution and the turmoil of wanting to see people saved (not sickness, I must add, but persecution).
It also means we have the authority of Messiah, authority over principalities and powers (Eph 6). These principalities and powers are demonic (evil) powers at work in the hearts and societies of men, which bring injustice, poverty, sickness and tyranny.
So we bring healing, salvation and all of that to not just the hearts of men but the societies of men.
We are to implement Messiah’s authority into society – which is bringing his kingdom into society. What does his Kingdom look like, though? Is it a tyrannical theocracy?
No, rather it is a kingdom of justice, peace, abundance (shalom in Hebrew), healing, reconciliation and salvation. This is what Messiah Jesus was anointed to do, this is what we’re to do.
I love this! It’s exciting and it reveals the purpose of Christianity. I don’t believe in Jesus just because it’s an insurance policy, but because I want the same anointing Jesus had to bring healing and salvation to this world – this comes both through the message of Jesus (that He alone saves) and the good works of His people (which includes forming systems of justice in place of systems of injustice).
So we have purpose, and it’s a grand and powerful vision indeed.
For those in the Sandton area, Shannon and I will be preaching about this on Sunday, which is Resurrection Sunday, at Church on the Square at 8 Stella Street, Sandton. Starts at 9:30am.