Submitted by Visitor (not verified) on Fri, 04/12/2009 – 13:12
Bible Book: 1 Corinthians / 1 Korintiers
Verse: 12 – 26
In 1 Corinthians 12:12-26 we find one of the strongest arguments in the New Testament for unity amongst the followers of Jesus Christ. According to Paul’s imagery, we are as intimately connected with our fellow believers as the different parts of my own body are connected to one another. Even without any medical knowledge you should be able to appreciate what a marvelous unity the different limbs of your body form.
It is easy to formulate numerous theoretical ideas about the unity of the church. But in this chapter Paul is practical and down-to-earth. According to our Scripture reading, the unity of the body of Christ impacts on the way we relate to one another. Misunderstanding the unity of the body of Christ may result in jealousy towards the other believers’ position and role in the church (verses 15, 16). Likewise, a misunderstanding about the unity might lead to an undervaluation of the role and position of believers you see as less than yourself (verse 21), as well as indifference towards their needs (opposite of verse 25).
The image we find in 1 Corinthians 12:12-26 helps us in the way we react as Christians to the AIDS pandemic in at least the following two ways:
• When we interpret statistics of the AIDS pandemic with the unity of the body of Christ in mind, there is no way that this can be some boring piece of information that leaves us cold. “If one member suffers, all suffer together”, Paul says in verse 26. And if there are hundreds and thousands of members that suffer, it is impossible that we (as Christians) can stay unaffected!
• When we grasp what Paul teaches in this passage about the body of Christ – how “the parts of the body which seem to be weaker are indispensable” (verse 22) and how the unity becomes a reality when the members care for one another (verse 25), we begin to understand our responsibility towards vulnerable people. (In verse 28 Paul mentions the gift to care together with the gift to heal.) The spread of the HIV virus teaches us many lessons about the vulnerability of people and how this vulnerability is increased by poverty, oppression, illiteracy and many other factors. The AIDS pandemic emphasises the need to understand our own vulnerability and to support and protect those who are even more vulnerable (verses 22-26).
Author: N du Toit (Ds)