1 Corinthians 12:12
For as the body is one, and has many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.…
The appellation "Christ" is here applied, not to the person or our Lord, but to His Church, intimating that she is identified with her Saviour; and being given to the Church as a body, indicates the harmony and union of all its parts.
I. THE UNION OF BELIEVERS WITH CHRIST. This is here represented as corresponding with that which subsists betwixt the head and the members of the body. (Ephesians 4:15, 16; Colossians 1:18). This reminds us that Christ is —
1. The same nature with ourselves, even as the head is of the same nature with the body (Hebrews 4:16, 17).
2. The governing power in the Church, as the head is of the body. In the head the eyes are stationed like watchful sentinels; the ears receiving the information conveyed by sound; the organs of taste and smell discerning things that differ, and contributing eminently both to our safety and to our enjoyment; the tongue, the interpreter of thought: there, in short, is the countenance, the seat of beauty, giving to man an impress of dignity not found in any of the inferior animals. Now the superior endowments of this capital of the human frame afford a fit emblem of the honour and supremacy of Him who is constituted our spiritual Head.
3. The vital principle, the source of life and feeling to the whole body. Christ our Head, in whom dwell all wisdom and all power, imparts and sustains the principles of the spiritual life.
II. THEIR RELATION TO ONE ANOTHER.
1. The members of the body are many, and differ exceedingly, and yet in a machine so complex each movement and circumvolution is exactly fitted for its specific end. Of the many bones, e.g., of the hand or foot, not one could change its place without injury to the limb to which it belongs. In like manner, every muscle, nerve, and artery has its own place and office, which no other could supply. So in the mystical body of Christ there are many members, with each its own office. One Christian excels in the intelligence of the eye, another in the discrimination of the ear: one has the activity and adaptation of the band, another the firmness and perseverance of the foot: one has the energy of the arm, another the tenderness of the bosom (vers. 4-11).
2. This diversity occasions a dependence of the several members upon one another (vers. 21, 22). Let no believer, however mean, be discouraged; let no believer, however eminent, presume that he is independent. The analogy suggests the mutual sympathy that should subsist among believers (ver. 26). The tenderness each should cherish our fellow-Christians, the zeal each should render.
4. This mutual co-operation has the happiest results. In the natural body, when the eye is quick to discern, the hand diligent to execute, the foot steady to pursue, the ear open to hear, and the tongue ready to return a right answer, the combined exertion of our powers secures ends which their separate and unconnected attempts could never have attained. In like manner the efforts of the several members of the body of Christ are then successful when they are honestly and affectionately combined.
(H. Grey, D.D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.