For the young 30-year-old raised in Nazareth near the Sea of Galilee it was a stunning proclamation.
Months, years, centuries, and millenniums pass while the promise stands firm. The gates of hell cannot overcome the body of Christ.
As a member of the church—his body—I claim the promise.
Being a member of Jesus’ forever body, I want to reflect on another aspect. It is Jesus’ body. I cannot change it more to my liking. I can only honor it and belong. I can only be the “me” he created. I can only bring my God-given gifts to the body. The body belongs to Jesus.
It is not my role to worry about the state of the body. It is not my role to keep the body healthy. How could I possibly live with the disillusion of it being up to me to keep the body faithful in China, Africa, Europe, and the Americas?
How could I possibly live with the disillusion that it was only in the time of the Apostles and during my lifetime that the body has been faithful to Christ?
Is it possible that the grace of God and the blood of Jesus flows deeper than my small mind can comprehend? Is it possible that I am distracted by the external tags placed on the body by my generation rather than focusing on my relationship to Jesus and how that changes the way I relate to his world?
The forever body is composed of those living under the flow of grace. Body members love God with all of their heart, mind, and soul, and love their neighbor as oneself. The forever body worships God, Jesus, and Holy Spirit. The forever body serves each other and others.
Older members help the younger grow as mature and gifted body members. Since there is always someone ahead of me in my walk with Jesus and always someone newer than me in their walk, I will always have relationship in the body. I learn from those ahead and encourage those who are young in their faith. Because I live on God’s earth, I will always have relationships with those outside of the body who may see Jesus only through me.
The cultural manifestations of the forever body may look different from century to century. It may even look different from decade to decade. The soul of the body remains the same. The body loves the head.
I will close by stating the obvious. The church is not the same as our houses of worship. I spent a good portion of my life in an attempt to solve adequate worship and ministry space for members of the body. I stand at the front of the line as a believer in space for ministry.
At the same time, it is common to see meeting space no longer used as it was in its youth. An old building does not necessarily equate to a dying body. The Lord knows all about time, demographics, and culture. I want to learn to trust the Lord with his church.
There will come a day when Jesus will complete a renewed and perfect garden for his forever body. I look forward with holy optimism toward the grand celebration.
Jesus was right. The gates of hell will not stand against his body, the church.
What are your reflections? Let me hear from you. – Gary Sorrells