The Second Sunday after Epiphany
Grace and mercy to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
It is written: 6 Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; 7 if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; 8 the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness. (Romans 12:6-8)
Let us pray: Creator Father, grant us Your Holy Spirit, so that we may believe in Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
There is only one Christian faith. The Christian faith is to receive Jesus the Christ. The Jesus spoken of in the Holy Bible. The Jesus dead and bloodied on the cross. You are Christians because you are baptized and believe in Jesus.
The verses immediately before our text speaks to our equality in Christ. It is written: 4 For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office (Rom. 12:4 KJV).
This word picture of the body is helpful.
First, a body is born. All the members of the body are born with the body. And no member of the body gets its place with the body by it own efforts or intentions. The eyes did not decide to be eyes. They were born eyes to the body. Same with the nose. The nose was born a nose to the body. The eyes and the nose receive their existence and their powers from the body. The body, however, only exercises its eyes or nose when it want to see or smell. So, the body is born and all the members of the body are born with it. So also, the church is born from Jesus. Jesus gives all of you the birth from above by Holy Baptism. Just as Jesus is the first born of the dead on Easter morning, so also you the members of His body will all equally be raised from the dead on Resurrection Day.
Second, going back to the illustration of the body, each member of the body is content with the other members of the body. The eyes are not envious that the nose has the better sense of smell. Likewise, the nose doesn’t secretly wish it had sight like the eyes. The eyes and the nose are thankful to be part of the body. Christians are also thankful to be part of the body of Christ.
Third, again with the body illustration, each member serves the other members of the body. The eyes prepare the way for the feet. The feet keep the body from falling and thus protecting the eye. The same is true for the Lord’s church, the body of Christ. The congregation has the ears to hear the Lord’s Word preparing the way for a pastor. The pastor is the mouth and hands of the congregation to speak the Lord’s Word and distribute the Lord’s Sacraments. Each members serves the other members of the body.
Finally, fourth, each member suffers and rejoices with all.
As the Lord says: 4 For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office (Rom. 12:4 KJV). The head of the body and the most honorable part of the body is the head. Jesus is the head of His body. Jesus is always the head of His church.
And yet, you, the members of Christ’s body, are not all the same. You have gifts that differ according to the grace given to you as our Lord says in Romans 12.
The Lord lists several of those gifts that distributes among us, but gifts that we don’t receive in the same proportion.
For example, prophecy. All Christians could be given the gift of prophecy but the Lord only gives it to some. And even to those who receive the gift not all have it in the same measure.