Grace, mercy, and peace to you from God the Father and our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.
The head controls the body. The brain sends messages through the nervous system and the muscles respond. The brain is the boss – it tells the rest of the body what to do.
There are many illnesses, however, that affect the body and prevent the body from doing what the brain tells it to do. Muscles can be affected so that they do not move when the head tells them to move. The nervous system can be affected so that the messages don’t come through as they should. Illnesses make the body unable to do what the brain tells it to do.
Jesus is the head of the Church, and the Church is the body (Eph. 4:15-16; cf. also Rom. 12, I Cor. 12). Jesus, as the head, sends us, the body, messages concerning what we are to do. Because of the illness of sin, we often do not follow those messages. When we do follow what the head tells us to do, it is imperfectly and in great weakness.
Sometimes we are very willing to do what Jesus commands. Like Peter, we may say, “Lord, I am ready to go with you both to prison and to death” and then that very same day deny knowing Him three times (Luke 22:33-34). We may want to do what Jesus tells us to do until we find out what it is.
The disease of sin pulses through our veins. We sin in thought, word, and deed. We are weak sinners, showing the symptoms of our sinful flesh.
“While we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.” (Rom. 5:6) While we were completely powerless to do what God commands us to do; while we were completely helpless in our sin, Christ died for us. “God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Rom. 5:8)
If that’s what God was willing to do for us when we were His enemies, how much more do you think He is willing to do everything for us now that we are reconciled to Him? How much more do you think He is going to do for us now that we are the body of Christ?
Jesus has done everything for His body, the Church. He kept God’s Law perfectly for us. His head never turned to sin or away from someone who needed help. He was always ready to bow His head in prayer for His body, the Church. Even His thoughts were always pure and holy. Jesus has the mind and the will of God. That’s why He always did the will of the Father and never thought selfishly of Himself but served us to the point of death on a cross. He subjected Himself to humiliation and torture. He allowed His head to be crowned with thorns as He was mocked. He gave His life, breathing His last and bowing His head.
Through our Baptism we are in Christ. We are the body of Christ. As forgiven members of the body of Christ, we still have the disease of sin. We still fall into temptation. But Christ is not going to amputate His body and cut us off. Instead, He absolves us of all our sin. He gives us His body and blood, the medicine of eternal life.
“If while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by His life.” (Rom. 5:10) If Jesus died for us while we were ungodly and enemies of God, how much more His life means to us now. His resurrection is our resurrection because we are His body. Because He lives, we will live also. Jesus isn’t going to forsake His body because it’s diseased. He’s going to continue giving us the medicine of eternal life until we are with Him in eternity and no longer sinful. He’s going to continue forgiving us until we will be with Him in the joys and perfection of Paradise.
We don’t deserve forgiveness. We don’t deserve anything God gives to us. But God forgives us because we are in Christ. Christ prays for us like He prayed for Peter. Satan wanted to sift Peter like wheat, but Jesus says that He has prayed for Peter that his faith may not fail.
Jesus also prays to God the Father for us, that our faith may not fail. When He pleads for us, He is pleading for His own body. Jesus does not want Satan to sift us like wheat. He can pray for us like no one else can.
Jesus can pray, “Father, have mercy on this member of my body. I have paid the price of his sins. He has not listened to the messages I have given Him in my Word, but I have done what he has failed to do. He has denied me but his sins are covered by my blood. Do not allow His faith to fail because He is mine.”
The head will not forsake the body. Jesus will continue to nurture His body and intercede for us. Jesus isn’t going to forsake His body because it’s diseased. He’s going to continue giving us the medicine of eternal life until we are with Him in eternity and no longer sinful. He’s going to continue forgiving us until we will be with Him in the joys and perfection of Paradise. Amen.
The peace of God which surpasses all understanding will keep your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen.