Our Savior's deepest desire is that we, as members of His church and ultimately members of His Family, all become one, just as He and our Father are one. In His prayer before His arrest in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus voiced that wish intensely five times (John 17:11, 21-23). It should not surprise us, then, that after reconciling us to the Father, He does His utmost within each of us "to create within Himself one new man from the two" (Ephesians 2:14-16).
Christ's joining together that which is apart results in peace and unity. Joining the independent parts "causes growth of the body," which is made possible "by what every joint supplies" (Ephesians 4:16).
Notice, Paul does not say, "by what every part or member supplies," but "every joint." For example, a rickety table, feeble in its loose-fitting joints, becomes too wobbly once more than two legs are loose. There may be nothing wrong with the table's legs and the table top. But a table's stability is provided, not by its individual parts, but by the quality of its joints. Unless the legs are affixed securely to the table top, the table is useless.
In a body of people like the church, it is also the joining or bonding among the members which makes it function properly and beneficially to all. Solomon wrote of this principle in Ecclesiastes 4:9-12:
Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. but woe to him who is alone when he falls, for he has no one to help him up. Again, if two lie down together, they will keep warm; but how can one be warm alone? Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him. And a threefold cord is not quickly broken.
Solomon illustrates just a few benefits that derive from the joining together of people. It provides security (verse 10), warmth (verse 11) and strength (verse 12). Thus a body does not grow just in size, but its quality of life is enhanced by each quality joint.
More Members, Many More Joints!
How many joints are there in a body? The smallest body of people consists of two members, who can form only one joint (or one bond, one relationship). A body of three members has three possible joints, and a body of four members has six. Five members means ten joints, six members amount to fifteen joints.
Notice how the number of possible joints increases much faster than the number of members! Among ten members forty-five joints are possible, among fifty members 1,222 joints! For a body of one hundred members to be "joined and knit together" requires more than five thousand joints! Population experts have estimated that possibly 50 billion people have lived since Adam. How many relationships will be developed if most of them qualify for God's Family! The number is almost unimaginable!
Since the welfare of the body depends on "what every joint supplies," is it possible that these joints, these relationships, are more important than we ever considered? We have always concentrated more on the quality of the members themselves, which of course is vital. But our character is displayed in our relationships with each other, in the quality of the bonds we develop among ourselves. Jesus said His disciples would be known by their love for each other—by the depth of their relationships with each other (John 13:35)!
When the Father and His Son decided to make their supreme sacrifice, they must have thought that whatever they would gain by that sacrifice was worth the pain and suffering. And what did they gain by such a costly sacrifice? Relationships! The sacrifice bought bonding—reconciliation—between us and God, a joint. But more than that, He is also joining each of us together, and He will eventually join each of us to every other member of His Family throughout time.
God is looking for pleasant fruit to emanate from every joint as it is developed, from every new relationship. He is not pleased with feeble, arthritic, unreliable joints. In time, billions upon billions of relationships will be formed between the various members of Christ's body, and each of these "joints" will add something of value to His Family.
Each joint will be unique, deriving from the interaction of two uniquely talented free moral agents, and each joint will uniquely edify the whole Family. In the course of eternity, even the little toe of the left foot of Christ's body will come to know the little toe of the right foot. They will develop a lasting, fruitful relationship, and in some yet unforeseen way contribute to the welfare and supreme happiness of the whole Family. Each joint will positively add to the instruction and improvement of the entire body through its particular traits.
Does that sound like it could be the magnificent adventure our great God is eagerly awaiting? Could it possibly be the great purpose for His Family?
"Perfectly Joined Together"
We have been given the opportunity now, ahead of all the rest of mankind, to do what God was willing to sacrifice so dearly for. Now we can develop strong, lasting relationships with God and with each other. Now we can begin to reap the benefits, the fruits, of such solid joints in Christ's body.
Remember this analogy: Bricks do not make a building, but joining them together does. Only if we are "fitly framed together" can we grow into a holy temple in the Lord (Ephesians 2:21, KJV). Such fit joints can—and should—be made now!
As the apostle Paul pleads in I Corinthians 1:10, we can all "speak the same thing." We can all determine that among us "there [will] be no divisions." We can all become "perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment." But we must desire it, just as God desires it for us.
Joined one to another in productive interaction and oneness of mind, each of us can be part of a Family that will eternally produce supreme joy, fulfillment, blessing and glory. And undoubtedly, God looks forward in eager anticipation to the creatively pleasurable and edifying contributions that every joint in His growing Family supplies.