“For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body – Jews or Greeks, slaves or free – and all were made to drink of one Spirit.”
1 Corinthians 12:13
Unity is something all of us would like to see more of. Wouldn’t it be great to flip on the TV and see a news story that made us go, “Wow, look how united we are?” Wouldn’t it be a breath of fresh air to walk into the cafeteria and see groups of people we thought could never get along suddenly eating and laughing together at lunch? How cool would it be for you and your siblings to see eye to eye on something? (Sorry, that’s my parent voice coming through pretty strongly. I can’t help it.)
As the people of God, we can speak about unity in some powerful ways. We have the ability to express our togetherness in words I believe many in our world desire to hear. In a world where so many want to see unity arise out of division, we can be the first to speak about the truths that real-life unity can and does come in the gift of Baptism.
To the church in Corinth that was dealing with issues of division, Paul emphasizes the unifying power of Baptism. “For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body – Jews or Greeks, slaves or free – and all were made to drink of one Spirit.” There were many differences between the Christians that composed the church in Corinth 2,000 years ago. There were different ethnic backgrounds. There were different social statuses. There were different levels of income. Some had been in the faith longer than others. None of them looked identical.
These Christians were good at identifying all the things that could divide them. In fact, there were real divisions between them. In chapter 1, Paul mentions that they were having arguments about who to follow. Some followed Paul. Others followed Peter. Others followed Apollos.
How does Paul bring these divided people back together? He reminds them of their Baptism. It was in Baptism that these people of various backgrounds and experiences all became one body of believers. In Baptism, they shared the most important thing in common: Jesus.
The same is true for you today too. In your Baptism, you are united with Christ, and consequently, the whole body of Christ too. You share the most important thing with Christians all over globe.
Christ is the great unifier. He brings people together from all nations. (Remember the command to the disciples to Baptize all nations?) He gathers them from every corner of the earth, from every background, from every social class.
That means you are connected to something so much bigger than yourself. Your Baptism builds a bridge between you and billions of people. Consider that for a moment. The body of Christ that you’re a part of contains more people than you can count! How extraordinary is that!
This changes a lot for us. It changes how we view people who are different from us – whether their different because of age, or interests, or languages – whatever it may be. Baptism teaches us to look at one another through the lens Christ uses when he looks at us. When he looks at us, he sees his child. When we use that same lens to look at others, especially those in the body of Christ, we see them as his child too.
May the Lord open our eyes to see the unity he has begun among us!
Heavenly Father, you have sent your Son to die and rise that he might draw all nations to himself. Work to unify us around the promises you’ve made to us in Baptism and make us a people who view others in the way you view us. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen!
- Share an example of when you saw a picture of unity? What went through your heart and mind when you saw it?
- What are some ways you can strive for even greater unity in the body of Christ (in your church, your youth group, etc.)?