When Jesus walked the earth, He had a physical body, just like we do. He spent alot of time doing His Father’s work. He met physical and spiritual needs in the people who came to him, and sometimes people met His physical needs. Although Jesus is not walking the earth right now, He does have a physical presence. You and I are that physical presence.
Now you are Christ’s body, and individually members of it.
– 1 Corinthians 12:27 (NAS)
Each believer is a member of the body of Christ. We represent Christ physically on earth. This idea works itself out in how we relate to others and to Christ.
What We Do To Christ
During Jesus’ life on earth, He experienced different things that we all experience. He became hungry and thirsty. Some met His needs like the Samaritan woman. Because we are each members of Christ’s body, when we do something for our fellow believers, we are doing it for Christ. Jesus said:
And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’
– Matthew 25:40 (NAS)
As members of Christ’s body, we are to take care of each other. We must look after each other’s needs because when one member of the body suffers, the whole body suffers.
This also has a negative side. Christ was persecuted on earth and so are we. When people persecute us because of Christ, then Christ is also persecuted through us. Jesus confronted Saul as he was on the way to Damascus, saying “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?” Even though Jesus was not physically present on earth, the members of His body were and they were being persecuted. (See also 1 Corinthians 8:12.)
What Christ Does Through Us
Because we represent Christ, when we do something, it is as if Jesus does it. I’m not talking about Christ’s power in us, but our actions as representatives of Christ. This also can be good or bad.
When we sin, it is like Christ sinning:
Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take away the members of Christ and make them members of a harlot? May it never be!
– 1 Corinthians 6:15 (NAS)
This should be repugnant to us because it is repugnant to Christ. (How would you like it if your body didn’t do what you wanted it to do?)
Instead, we should be doing what Christ did on earth. We are His hands, His legs, His mouth on earth because Christ dwells in us and should be living through us. This is both a great honor and responsibility.
(See also John 14:12, Luke 10:16, Matthew 10:40, Ephesians 4:11-12)