“The body of Christ” is a mysterious phrase used more than 30 times in the New Testament. The apostle Paul especially settled on that phrase as an image of the church. After Jesus ascended to heaven, He turned over His mission to flawed and bumbling men and women. He assumed the role of head of the church, leaving the tasks of arms, legs, ears, eyes, and voice to His flawed human disciples – and to you and me.
As the appointed apostle set apart to bring the good news to the Gentile nations, Paul faced many uncomfortable moments and much sufferings in his life as recorded for us in 2 Corinthians 11: 23-29. Beatings, stoned, shipwrecked, betrayed, hunger and thirst, Paul faced it all with the certain knowledge and comfort that it was all worth it because of the redemptive power & hope of the risen Christ; knowing Christ and being known by Christ was Paul’s greatest comfort.
Paul reiterated, “God comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ (2 Corinthians 1:4–5).” All through his ministry Paul put that principle into practice, taking up collections for famine victims, dispatching assistants to go to troubled areas, healing those who are sick, acknowledging believers’ gifts as gifts from God Himself and faithfully sharing the good news of Jesus Christ with those who needed to hear it, and faithfully and vigorously defending the faith against false teachers too!
God’s presence brings us, the body of Christ, comfort; our presence through the power of the Holy Spirit brings others comfort. Paul always pointed people to Christ and to the comfort and hope that Christ offers. Let us – as the body of Christ – emulate Paul as he emulated Christ.