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Body of Christ

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The term refers both to the physical body of Jesus Christ, which was broken on the cross in order that redemption might be accomplished through him, and to the church.


Jesus Christ’s physical body

His birth

John 1:14 NKJV
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.
See also Ro 1:3; Ga 4:4; 1 Ti 3:16

His bodily needs

Mt 8:24; Mk 11:12; Lk 4:2; Jn 4:6; Jn 19:28

His physical suffering

Matthew 27:26 NKJV
Then he released Barabbas to them; and when he had scourged Jesus, he delivered Him to be crucified.
See also Mt 27:28–30; Lk 22:44

His real physical death

John 19:31–37 NKJV
Therefore, because it was the Preparation Day, that the bodies should not remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a high day), the Jews asked Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away. Then the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first and of the other who was crucified with Him. But when they came to Jesus and saw that He was already dead, they did not break His legs. But one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out. And he who has seen has testified, and his testimony is true; and he knows that he is telling the truth, so that you may believe. For these things were done that the Scripture should be fulfilled, “Not one of His bones shall be broken.” And again another Scripture says, “They shall look on Him whom they pierced.”
See also Mt 27:35; Ac 2:23

His burial

Mark 15:43–46 NKJV
Joseph of Arimathea, a prominent council member, who was himself waiting for the kingdom of God, coming and taking courage, went in to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Pilate marveled that He was already dead; and summoning the centurion, he asked him if He had been dead for some time. So when he found out from the centurion, he granted the body to Joseph. Then he bought fine linen, took Him down, and wrapped Him in the linen. And he laid Him in a tomb which had been hewn out of the rock, and rolled a stone against the door of the tomb.

His physical resurrection

Luke 24:37–43 NKJV
But they were terrified and frightened, and supposed they had seen a spirit. And He said to them, “Why are you troubled? And why do doubts arise in your hearts? Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself. Handle Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have.” When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His feet. But while they still did not believe for joy, and marveled, He said to them, “Have you any food here?” So they gave Him a piece of a broiled fish and some honeycomb. And He took it and ate in their presence.
See also Mt 28:9; Jn 20:19–20; Jn 20:27

The body of Christ symbolised in the Lord’s Supper

Matthew 26:26 NKJV
And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, “Take, eat; this is My body.”
See also Jn 6:51–58; 1 Co 10:16; 1 Co 11:23–30

The church as the body of Christ

Believers as members of the body of Christ

1 Corinthians 12:27 NKJV
Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually.
See also Ro 12:4–5; 1 Co 12:12; Eph 4:4; Col 1:24

Jesus Christ as the head of the body

Colossians 1:18 NKJV
And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence.
See also Eph 1:22; Eph 5:23

Jesus Christ’s resurrection body is a new temple

John 2:19–22 NKJV
Jesus answered and said to them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” Then the Jews said, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will You raise it up in three days?” But He was speaking of the temple of His body. Therefore, when He had risen from the dead, His disciples remembered that He had said this to them; and they believed the Scripture and the word which Jesus had said.
See also Eph 2:19–22

Life in the body of Christ

Baptism is into the body of Christ

1 Corinthians 12:13 NKJV
For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and have all been made to drink into one Spirit.
See also Ga 3:27

Believers receive spiritual life through the body of Christ

Colossians 2:19 NKJV
and not holding fast to the Head, from whom all the body, nourished and knit together by joints and ligaments, grows with the increase that is from God.
See also 1 Co 10:16–17; Eph 4:15–16

Believers care for each other in the body of Christ

1 Corinthians 12:25–26 NKJV
that there should be no schism in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another. And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.
See also Eph 4:25; Eph 5:29–30; Col 3:15

Believers have different gifts in the body of Christ

Romans 12:4–5 NKJV
For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another.
See also Ro 12:6–8; 1 Co 12:12–31; Eph 4:11–13
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