Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Yeshua HaMashiach. 1 Corinthians 1:3
Our Father – Paul has just declared Yeshua to be God (verse 2). But without taking a breath, he immediately offers a salutation from “God our Father and the Lord Yeshua HaMashiach.” He doesn’t flinch. He doesn’t backpedal. He calmly asserts that God is our Father and Yeshua is the Lord, the one we call upon. It is a great mystery indeed!
At one time Christian theologians espoused the position that Jews did not speak of God as Father. In an attempt to demonstrate Yeshua broke from Jewish tradition, even men as famous as Joachim Jeremias claimed that “our Father” was unique to Jesus. Of course, now we know better. Yeshua was Jewish and so was His language. Even this little phrase connects Him to His culture and ancestry.
But Paul’s point isn’t about the history of this concept. Paul has another concern in mind. The Corinthian synagogue is filled with Gentiles and Jews, but God is the Father of all. In the Body, there is no difference. Every man and every woman has exactly the same family relationship to God – and consequently to each other. This is an important lesson for the Corinthians. In an assembly where some claimed superiority, Paul drives home the real distinguishing characteristic. Everyone here is part of the same family. The only strangers are the ones who have not yet come into the congregation. If everyone here is brother or sister, why are you attempting to create a hierarchy of relationship importance? How can some of you claim to be super-family members? All of us here are brothers of sisters.
We might not live in the rough and tumble world of idolatrous Corinth (we have our own versions of idolatry and debauchery), but we often share the same superiority problem that faced the Corinthian congregation. Some of us seem to feel we are “called” to be important. We are the leaders. We are the elders. We are the bishops and the pastors. Ah, but Paul reminds us that we are not more than brothers and sisters. Any role we play is nothing but a temporary job assignment. It is not a measure of personal status. If God calls some to be taxi drivers, accountants, landscapers or foundation directors, each and every one is just brother or sister to the rest. Jobs do not make the man.
There is a lot of misunderstanding about the difference between roles and relationships. I am quite sure that you have been exposed to the hierarchical concept of “offices” in the church. Hmm? Where did that come from? Do you think Paul placed any superiority on such job assignments? The man who speaks about feet and hands, eyes and ears can hardly be the man who proposed that some “parts” of the Body are more important than others. Brothers and sisters, we have one Father and He speaks grace and peace to all of us.
Topical Index: our Father, 1 Corinthians 1:3, hierarchy