Introducing the Church of Christ
Published by Star Bible (www.Starbible.com)
The Church is God’s Benevolent Hand to the Poor Part 1 of 2
The Church of the New Testament was built by Jesus Christ; for, in Matthew 16:18 Jesus said: “…and upon this rock I will build my church…”Not only is he its founder, but also its head.
The apostle Paul stated this clearly when he wrote “And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church” (Ephesians 1:22). As founder and head he is also our pattern for living as memebers of his church, “For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow His steps” (1 Peter2:21). Regarding our subject in this chapter we then ask, “What example did Jesus leave as to what kind of attitude we should have toward those who are in physical need?” We should also ask, “What commands or examples has he given to his church today in the New Testament concerning benevolence?”
JESUS WAS CONCERNED
In the writing of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and which John which describe the life of Christ before he built his church, we discover him to be a person of great compassion. His greatest concern was of course with the sins and souls of the people, but while living among men he demonstrated his care and concern for the physical needs of the people as well. A good example of this was when his friend Lazarus died. When he went to the home of Mary and Martha and saw their sorrow and that of their friends the scriptures tell us, “… he groaned in the spirit, and was troubled… Jesus wept… he loved him” (John 11:33-36). There are many instances in Christ’s life which demonstrate to us that to be like Jesus or to be Christ-like we will need to be concerned about the physical welfare of others.
JESUS HAD COMPASSION
Many came to Jesus for care. Jesus was moved with compassion because of their great needs: ” But when he saw were distressed…” (Matt. 9:36). He was concerned that people were hungry: “I feel compassion for the people becuase they have remained with Me now three days and have nothing to eat” (Mark 8:2). Jesus then provided food for the people.
JESUS TAUGHT ABOUT CARING
Not only did Jesus show his compassion for others in need but he also taught great lessons on the subject. Perhaps the best known is the story of the good Samaritan (Luke 10: 25-37). Jesus emphasized that the greatest commandment is to love God with all our heart, soul, and strength, and the second greatest commandment is like it, to love our neighbor as we love ourselves. When a man in the crowd asked, “Who is my neighbor?” Jesus responded with the story of the Good Samaritan. The story about a man who gave his time, energies, and money to help a stranger in need. The stranger had been beaten and robbed and was in need of medical attention, food, and a place to stay. He provided it all and as a result he received the praise of Jesu for his act of compassion. Jesus then told the man in the crowd, “Go, and do thou likewise.” Perhaps the most striking lesson that Jesus taught about our responsibility in helping others is found in the picture that he gives of the final judgment.
“But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats; and He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left.
“Then the King will say to those on his Right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was stranger, and you invited Me in; Naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.’ Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? And When did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ 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.’ (Matt. 25:46).