This past Sunday I preached on Paul’s stuff on human genitalia in I Cor. 12:22. Here’s an excerpt:
Paul uses human anatomy to make a basic point about the corporate body of the church. Every part is necessary; without eyes or feet, the body cannot function as it is created to function. Every part, every member, is absolutely necessary—that’s Paul’s basic point throughout this section in I Corinthians. But then he adds, with a wink and a smile: Yes, even that “necessary member” is absolutely necessary, it’s the most necessary part of the body. As Paul says, “God has so arranged the body, giving greater honor to this lesser member” (v. 25). The lesser member, the part of the body that we keep hidden, that is least presentable, is actually the most necessary member, the most honored, the most beautiful.
Paul doesn’t say anything new when he talks about people as if they were one body. Everyone in Corinth understood that kind of language—it was as old as the ancient philosopher Plato. Citizens form one body—together, all of the people form a political body. But here’s the difference between Paul and all the other Greek and Roman philosophers and politicians: While Paul’s contemporaries talked about every member of society as being an absolutely necessary part of the body, everyone knew that the head was the most necessary. And the head of the political body was the sovereign, the king, the one at the top of the masses. While people were told that they were necessary to the health of the social body, the king was the most necessary member of society. Without him, everything would fall apart.
But Paul takes this body language and turns it upside-down. The head is not the most necessary member; the necessary member is the most necessary member—the genitals, not the head. And then Paul talks about the nature of that necessary member—it’s hidden, fragile, weak, and vulnerable. It’s easily forgotten as you go about your daily work, unless you have to use the bathroom—then you quickly discover its necessity. Or for sex. I won’t go into details.
For the rest of the sermon, follow this link to the church website: The Weakest Member.