Friday, August 15, 2008

The Corinth that Paul Saw: Week 3 and 4

I missed blogging about Week 3 of "The Corinth that Paul Saw" - the session was short. Kar Yong and I were heading to church from the same direction and we both got caught in a bad traffic jam supposedly caused by Olympics fans heading to their rendezvous spots in town to watch the 8:08pm 08.08.08 opening event.

What I remember from Week 3 was the Bema at Corinth - the place where Paul might have been brought to Gallio, "But while Gallio was proconsul of Achaia, the Jews with one accord rose up against Paul and brought him before the (bema) judgment seat," (Acts 18:12) and Paul used that imagery in 2 Cor 5:10: "For we must all appear before the (bema) judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad."

Today, Kar Yong showed us the background behind Paul's usage of the body metaphor.

1 Corinthians 12:14-27
14 Now the body is not made up of one part but of many. 15 If the foot should say, "Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body," it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, "Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body," it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. 19 If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, but one body. 21 The eye cannot say to the hand, "I don't need you!" And the head cannot say to the feet, "I don't need you!" 22 On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, 24 while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has combined the members of the body and has given greater honor to the parts that lacked it, 25 so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. 26 If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. 27 Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.

In Corinth, there was at that time the Temple of Asklepios, which was undoubtedly popular as a healing temple. The people there would go to the temple whenever they feel unwell seeking for the god to heal them and when they get healed, the people would make an earthern image of the part of the body they were healed and dedicate it to Asklepios.

Paul could have allude to the fact that even the pagans know what they are doing - if any part of their body is sick, they would present themselves to the temple to get healed but when the body of Christ is sick, what happens?

We too need to ask ourselves that question. Do we care when any part of the body of Christ is not well, is suffering, or worse is abused by the other parts of the body?


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