The first disciples were an interesting lot of men.
— Andrew, Peter, James, and John were fishermen. Thomas, Nathaniel, and Philip may have also worked as fishermen, for they were all together and fishing when Jesus appeared to them.
— Matthew was a tax collector, which was a despised occupation in first-century Israel.
— Simon was a zealot. “Terrorist” is a modern-day term for zealot.
— We don’t know Judas’ occupation before becoming a disciple. Besides betraying Jesus, he apparently stole money from the common treasury.
A group of women who followed Jesus from Galilee, and who were present at the crucifixion and resurrection is described by Luke with these words.
— Luke 8.1b-3 – The twelve were with him, as well as some women who had been cured of evil spirits and infirmities: Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out,
And Joanna, the wife of Herod’s steward Chuza, and Susanna, and many others, who provided for them out of their resources.
Corinthian Followers of Jesus
The church in Corinth was comprised of a few wealthy members, low-income persons, and slaves.
Just as every one of Jesus’ first followers was important to his work, so were the Christians in Corinth.
A person’s occupational or economic status in life is no hindrance to their value in God’s kingdom.
A Unified Body
God has designed the church to be comprised of people from multiple backgrounds. The diverse church is one body.
— 1 Corinthians 12.12-13 – 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.
For in the one Spirit we were all baptized into one body — Jews or Greeks, slaves or free — and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.
Rudy Ross and I met during prayer meetings of the Citywide Prayer Movement. That organization was comprised of different denominations, races, and genders.
Pastors of very large congregations often prayed with those who led store-front churches. Charismatics prayed with Baptists and Catholics.
Doctrine and social issues may have separated the participants, but prayer united us. We were able to reflect on what Paul taught about the body.
We Belong Together!
The church is comprised of people who normally wouldn’t associate with each other if it weren’t for their love for Jesus.
Even with the presence of the Spirit, diverse people need encouragement to operate as a unified body.
Paul described the church as a diverse, but a unified body.
— 1 Corinthians 12.14-18 – Indeed, the body does not consist of one member but of many.
If the foot would say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body.
And if the ear would say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body.
If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole body were hearing, where would the sense of smell be?
But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose.
Anyone who has injured a toe knows how the body reacts to the pain. That small out-of-the-way body part reminds the whole body of its importance.
Each person who feels insignificant in the church needs to believe in their value.
The same is true of the church as a whole. God’s word teaches that there is no member who is unimportant.
The Importance of Less Important Members
Mary Magdalene was a demonized and an assumed prostitute. Was she important?
God placed a high value on Mary Magdalene and allowed her to be the first witness to the resurrection.
Paul learned from Jesus to highly esteem the “weaker” members.
— 1 Corinthians 12.22-26 – On the contrary, the members of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable,
And those members of the body that we think less honorable we clothe with greater honor, and our less respectable members are treated with greater respect;
Whereas our more respectable members do not need this. But God has so arranged the body, giving the greater honor to the inferior member,
That there may be no dissension within the body, but the members may have the same care for one another.
If one member suffers, all suffer together with it; if one member is honored, all rejoice together with it.
It is respectable to keep our “private parts” clothed. Just because they are not on display does not make them less valuable.
These “inferior members” are the reproductive organs of our body.
I am thankful to be a member of Maywood Baptist Church for many reasons. I am especially blessed to see how the church includes everyone in ministry.
Pastor Jake Taylor has been on a planned sabbatical for six weeks. In his absence, members of the body of Christ filled the pulpit.
They were nervous and not always smooth in their delivery. However, they were life-giving in their service to the church.
Not only did they have a message, but they embodied the message. Their journey with Jesus gave people on similar journeys hope.
The ministry of Jesus and Paul’s instructions to the church reminds us that every person in the body of Christ is important.
Each person is valuable because they have the potential of bringing spiritual life to another.
Rudy Ross and I had difficulties with the camera we use for recordings. I failed to record videos where we discussed the nature of each of the spiritual gifts.
I apologize for the technical issues.
Please email your prayer request to email@example.com or private message me on Facebook. The Maywood prayer team will pray for you.