Jesus, Church, and Koinonia

Jesus, on the cross, demonstrated God’s koinonia (communion) with all of mankind, down to the most subjugated people. “And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death— even death on a cross!” (Philippians 2:8). It is in the shadow of this demonstration of solidarity that Jesus calls the Church to “take up a cross” and follow him (Matthew 16:24). Suffering is a natural result of koinonia as long as there is suffering in the world. There cannot be solidarity between people if people do not share their sufferings with each other. But Jesus’ story does not end in death. Jesus is resurrected—vindicated—by God. The resurrection of Jesus gave hope to early Christians, as revelation that koinonia is victorious in the end. Paul saw the power of the resurrection—true final victory—as only accessible through suffering (Phil 3:10-11).

Because the Church is an alternative society, we identify and stand up against oppressive systems within dominant society through the empowering faith in the resurrection, all this for the goal of koinonia—solidarity among all people. The Church is about the work of God through Jesus in the world—resisting oppression and sharing life with the least in the dominant society. It is by the teachings of Jesus that the Church finds its identity. The sacrificial life of Jesus, demonstrated in koinonia, drives the Church toward glorious vindication in resurrection. In the ears of the Church, echoes the voice of the crucified Son of God, saying, “as the Father has sent me so I send you” (John 20:21). It is by this calling we move forward, identifying oppression and standing against it in redemptive community.