This past Sunday, I shared a “theology of the body” sourcing out of 3John. John, @TheElder is writing through short message service (SMS) to his friend @Gaius. He says to he says, uh…
Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul. _3John :2
I tore that sentence open and picked around. Amplified, John is saying, “My friend, I long that you would be prosperous in your bodily health and abundant in your soul.” This comes after @TheElder reminds his friend, “I love you in truth.”
We used this opportunity to talk more about Jesus’ commandment, which echoes Deuteronomy 6, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength.”
There is a totality, or can we say a holistic nature about our faith as people of Christ that we don’t consider much.
In our culture, there is an increasing interest in healthy living; exercise and eating right. Done in motive with God’s Story, this is a good thing. While we shouldn’t worship ourselves and our looks, there is an observable (outwardly noticeable posture to a healthy body.
At the same time, we want to understand that the body is an important factor in the Story, from Creations through the Fall and into the New Covenant.
- At Creation: God forms body from dust and breathes life into it.
- During the Fall, have you never noticed that the curses will affect the body? (Woman gets more pain; man gets to work hard. I think men got the better part of the deal!) And both will experience death of the body.
- The Messiah is not spared the experience of a human birth and immediately after, Jesus’ little body is laid to rest in a manger.
- As a young man, it’s said that Jesus grew in wisdom, “stature” (height) and favor.
- In his teaching, He says that one is better of cutting out a small part of their body, if it would mean sparing the whole body to hell. The experience of hell is often thought of today in “soully” spiritual terms, but the place of fire leads to an agony of the flesh.
- In the crucifixion narrative, we’re not spared the details of the physical torture that Jesus endured. He was whipped, beaten and nailed to the cross.
- After death, steps are made to care for His body.
- He is risen! He is risen, in flesh, indeed. When he rejoins his disciples he makes it known in every occasion that he is of a glorified (aka fully revealed) flesh.
- In the wake of the atonement, followers are given the presence of the Holy Spirit to dwell within. The scriptures say that our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit.
- Paul reminds the church to hold tight to the teachings about resurrection of the body.
- The new kingdom is a place where tears are wiped and death reigns but its understood as a place of the living, not just a spiritual experience.
What’s clear is that the body has a special place in the Story that needs to be explored further. I invite you to take in that teaching by visiting our Sermons page on this site and leave feedback on how the Lord is calling you to honor your body as you walk in a manner worthy of your calling.