The Church is supposed to represent Jesus. That is why many who fall away from the faith or reject Christianity do so because of poor connection with particular church communities. Many will witness extravagant buildings and wealthy preachers yet will find no ministry which can help the poor and needy. Such instances have not turned away only a few people. That being said, the Church represents Christ on earth.
As Christ is seated at the right hand of the Father, the Holy Spirit assists us in our modern state. Paul presents a metaphorical image of the Church as the body of Christ; this image points one to understand that the Church possesses almost a fill-in role for Jesus. In Jesus’ absence, we are to show the world His light, His love, and His hands. This is seen in Jesus’s teaching, that “As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” This line suggests that there would be a time when He would be absent from the world, and when the light of the world would need to be heralded by another, namely, His people.
To represent the body of Christ is an important responsibility, which is not bestowed upon only one person but upon the entire Church. We are merely components of His representation “for just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ,” (I Cor. 12:12 NRSV). “There may be no dissension within the body, but the members may have the same care for one another… Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it,” (12:25b, 27).
Being the body of Christ in the world is similar to operating in the ministry of salt and light. Christ possesses His own body presently, as well as the ontological and eternal salt and light of the world in a nearly literal sense; however, as His co-heirs, we are called to be the same as Him, so we may become unified with Him as “partakers of the divine nature” (II Pet. 1:4).
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What struggles do you have in the responsibility of representing the Body of Christ?