Whoa whoa whoa! I thought we just read this passage a couple of days ago. Yes, we did. But we’re starting another short topical series on the Church, using today’s passage as a springboard. There’s some confusion about this subject, and we could all use some reminders about it.
The phrase I want to camp out on today is the fact that Paul said that the Lord “bought the church with his own blood.” Yes, every individual believer is bought with the blood of our Savior, but Paul is here focusing on the fact that the church as a whole has been as well. All of us, put together, constitute the Body of Christ.
Back in those days, when a young man wanted to take a wife, he went to her family and negotiated a “bride price.” Depending on how wealthy he was and how much the family thought they could expect, they worked all these details out months if not years prior to the wedding plans. Ostensibly this was so that if the man divorced his wife, she'd have something to live on. But the point is that the value the man placed on his bride could be determined by how much he “paid” for her. I mean, that’s a general rule in life, right? One of the easiest ways to determine how valuable something is to you is by seeing how much you’re willing to pay for it, whether in actual money or in time or in some other sacrifice.
My friend, the Church was not paid for with silver or gold or cash of any sort. She wasn’t purchased with land or titles or any other paltry price. The Lord Jesus left the glories of Heaven, the uninterrupted fellowship of the Trinity, and the worship of angels in order to claim his Bride. He endured the weakness of human flesh, the everyday frustrations and disappointments of life, the rejection of his family and nation, the betrayal of one of his closest followers, and the abandonment of his closest friends—all for his Bride. He went through a show-trial, torture, final rejection and death on a cross for his Beloved. And worst of all, he carried her faults, her transgressions, and the wrath of the Father on his back, all for his Bride. And then he bled out and died for her.
Why am I focusing on this? Yes, the Bible does speak about each person’s individual redemption. It’s not a concept completely foreign to Scripture. But just as frequently, God’s word speaks of our collective responsibility and the fact that he's redeemed (literally “bought back”) the Church.
Why is this important? Because as Americans we're so hung up on individuality. We hold up very highly the paradigm of individual rights before the government. And there’s good in that. But we tend to carry that over into our understanding of the church. We tend to think of Christianity as a bunch of individuals running around who happen to be saved.
Yes, Christ died for you. But there’s a very real sense in which he died for the Church as a Body as well. For the next few days we’re going to focus on that aspect of our Christian life. If Jesus died for the Church, then maybe she needs to be a little higher on our list of priorities. What do you think?
Lord Jesus, you bled and died for your Bride. That’s how much you love her. And I’m a part of that. Thank you. So how can I show that she’s important to me too?