Some friends of mine were married over the weekend.
The preacher made a point that for Christians, a marriage is the opportunity for man and woman to discover
- some of mystery of God,
- how marriage can be a revelation of God Himself, where male and female come together as one yet maintain some distinctions.
I’m probably messing up all the wonderful statements the preacher made, but the theology of it all has led me to meditate reflect a little about the image of the church as the Bride of Christ.
The Bride of Christ
Isaiah 54:5 [said to Israel] — “For the Lord is your husband — the Almighty is his name — the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer; he is called the God of all the earth.”
Hosea 2:16 [said to Israel] — “In that day, you will call me ‘my husband’; you will no longer call me ‘my master.'”
Hosea 2:19-20 — “I will betroth you to me forever; I will betroth you in righteousness and justice, in love and compassion. I will betroth you in faithfulness, and you will acknowledge the Lord.”
John 3:29-30, John the Baptist declares, “The bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom’s voice. That joy is mine, and it is now complete. He must become greater; I must become less.”
In Matthew 22:1-14, Jesus describes the kingdom heaven in terms of a wedding banquet given by a father for his son.
In 2 Corinthians 11:2, Paul writes of Christ, “I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy. I promised you to one husband, to Christ, so that I might present you as a pure bride to him.”
In Revelation 19:6-7, the apostle John describes his vision as “For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready. Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear.”
MARRIAGE AS AN ILLUSTRATION?
Why does the bible use wedding imagery to describe the Kingdom? I don’t have all the answers, I’m just raising the question.
There is a mystery to marriage (when it’s healthy, of course) that reflects the nature of God.
Marriage is a place to be loved unconditionally, and a place to love unconditionally.
Marriage is a place to discover how to love and how to be loved.
Marriage is a place to experience the depths of romance, and the depths of pursuit. In the security of marriage, one can discover the joys of pursuing and being pursued.
Is God’s love so vast and deep that the deepest or richest image of it on the earth is in the mystical intimacy of marriage?
And your point is . . . . . .
What fuels me to do evangelism
- is more than the great commission;
- is more than a passion to see people apart from Christ get found by Him;
- is more than a concern about people’s eternity.
What fuels me is that I’m convinced that God loves me, and the bridal theme in Scripture stirs something indescribable in my heart.
Peter speaks of an indescribable Joy (1 Peter 1:9ff).
It wells up from within and over flows. It’s the deep [in me] that cries out to deep [in God]. It overflows.
It’s subjective no doubt. I can’t put words to it. But it fuels me all the more — I can “feel” the good news. I can feel the irresistable draw of God’s love. I can enjoy God! God enjoys me!
I can have all the tools I want about how to evangelize. But without the passion of relishing in the love of God for me, I’m just relaying information hoping to convince somebody of the truth. Delighting in God’s love for me gives me the passion that communicates conviction of truth. I’m not sharing what some speaker or teacher has taught me to repeat. I’m communicating what I believe and have discovered in life. It’s truth that has sunk into the heart and then oozes up from the heart with an intoxicating quality.
Just as I know the gospel (information, facts, theology, etc), I feel the gospel (passion, compassion, concern). The left brain and right brain together. Truth with passion. Passion propels me to invite people to discover truth with me.
Let me ask you this:
What does the bridal theme in Scripture stir in your heart?