Upon incurring trauma or injury, the human body unleashes a dizzying array of processes and chemical reactions for the purpose of sustaining life. Endowed with wisdom from God, our bodies are actually much smarter than we who inhabit them.
When trauma strikes, our bodies unleash 1,500 chemical processes. In such trauma, our bodies produce Adrenaline so we have a rush of energy necessary to fight—or to flee. Our blood sugar spikes, sending necessary nutriment to our brains and muscles. Blood Pressure also increases, as our bodies take blood away from our extremities (fingers, toes) and shoots more blood to vital organs, to the brain, and to our muscles. Blood which moves through the body is filled with excess platelet production so that bleeding can be stopped. Endorphin is directed toward the brain and the injury so that pain is reduced.
And portions of the brain are stimulated so that the body can think through the trauma and remember it afterward. The human body is, just as Robert C. Peale once called it, “the best and most efficient pharmacy.” What a miracle of complexity it is, united by its mission of sustaining human life!
All this complexity in the human body is directed by the body’s head. The head is intimately connected to the body and directs its course. Such direction and intimate connection is made unmistakably clear when the body undergoes attack or injury.
The physical body is used in Scripture as a metaphor for the Church—called the body of Christ (Ephesians 1, 1 Corinthians 12, Hebrews 13, etc). In Ephesians 1:22-23, Christ is the head, and the Church is the body. Think about what that means related to the persecution of Christians. As the head kicks-in to hyper-drive during trauma to the physical body, so, too, it seems, that Christ—the head of the Church—is intensely concerned to care for His spiritual body which suffers under the assault of persecution.
Christ promised His early followers that they would face persecution on account of Him (Matthew 5:10-12), and He left them with the promise that He would always remain present with them (Matthew 28:20). Christ stood to welcome Stephen when he became the first martyr after Him (Acts 7). And Christ was intensely concerned when Saul of Tarsus was persecuting Him (Acts 9).
Everything in the New Testament attests to the intense concern Christ (the head) has for His suffering body. The picture in Revelation 6 is one in which the martyrs cry out for Christ to avenge His wrath on those who killed His people. The reply they receive is that Christ—and the end of history—awaits only the full number of martyred saints to be complete (Rev 6:11). And then he will avenge.
To miss the point that Christ is intensely concerned for the persecuted church is to miss a significant piece of the New Testament gospel. Don’t miss the gospel. Don’t miss the priority Christ—the head—has placed on His body—the church. Christ is intensely concerned for the persecuted; thus, we are, too.
- International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church (gregoryccochran.com)