Saturday, July 3, 2010

The Bridegroom

Recently my son got married in a beautiful church wedding. It was a lovely ceremony and we had a wonderful time visiting with friends and family. It was especially nice to see two people so excited and happy to be getting married.

Weddings are wonderful joyous events. There is a lot of time and expense involved in preparing for a wedding, because it is such an important symbol of a loving relationship. Marriage is the most intimate of all relationships on earth. When God wanted to express the love He has for His people He could not have chosen a more powerful image than the church as His bride.

In Ephesians 5:25 the Bible tells us, “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her”. When a bride and groom are in love, they can think of nothing else but each other. That is the kind of love God has for His church, His people.

The symbol of marriage between God and his people occurs in the Old Testament. In Isaiah 54:4 the Bible says, “For your Maker is your husband, The Lord of hosts is His name”. And in Isaiah 62:5 it says, “As the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, So shall your God rejoice over you”.

In the New Testament the symbol of the bridegroom is used in the parable of the ten virgins found in Matthew 25. I’m sure you are familiar with the story. The parable says that God’s kingdom is like ten young virgins who took oil lamps and went out to greet the bridegroom. Five were silly and five were smart. The silly virgins took lamps, but no extra oil. The smart virgins took jars of oil to feed their lamps.

The bridegroom didn’t show up when they expected him, and they all fell asleep. In the middle of the night someone yelled out, He’s here! The ten virgins got up and got their lamps ready. The silly virgins said to the smart ones, our lamps are going out; lend us some of your oil. They answered, there might not be enough to go around; go buy your own. They did, but while they were out buying oil, the bridegroom arrived. When everyone who was there to greet him had gone into the wedding feast, the door was locked.

Who does the bridegroom represent in this parable? Jesus is the bridegroom, and the parable refers to his second coming. The point Jesus wanted to make is that He will return at an unexpected time. The bridesmaids knew the wedding was near; they could read the signs, but five of them wasted their opportunity to be prepared. When the bridegroom came, they weren’t ready. One of the most fearful teachings in the Bible is there is coming a day when it will be too late for those who do not know Jesus to be rescued.

We want to be ready don’t we? We want to be in the group that says, this is our God; we have waited for Him, and He will save us. We want to be the bride waiting for the bridegroom to come. We want to attend the great marriage feast. God’s people in the last days are referred to as the bride of Jesus.

Revelation 19:7,8 says, “For the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready. And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints”. The King of the universe came into the world to find a bride at the price of his own life, and He will come a second time to marry his bride and take her into the infinitely beautiful chambers and gardens of his love and joy forever. No earthly honeymoon can be even remotely close to what Jesus has in store for his bride.

In 1 Corinthians 2:9 we learn, “Eye has not seen, or ear heard, neither has entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for them that love him”. During the time that Jesus lived here on the earth, a man would never consider getting married unless he had a house for his new bride to live in. Jesus has promised us that he will prepare a place for his bride. We can find His promise in John 14:2,3 where it says, “In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also”.

Jesus has promised to prepare a place for you. It will be more awesome than anything you can possibly imagine. The most beautiful places on Earth will be nothing compared to what Jesus is preparing for you. No earthly honeymoon can be even remotely close to what Jesus has in store for his bride.

No relationship on earth is more fundamental than the marriage relationship. The very core of our culture and civilization rests on this basic institution. When a bride and groom are passionately in love, they can think of nothing else but each other, it is an obsession! This is the kind of love God has for His bride, and what He desires us to have for Him.

Today Jesus is asking for your hand in marriage. What will your answer be?

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