Imagine a bride preparing for her wedding day and yet not being in love with the bridegroom. Oh, now she loves him; sheâ€™s known him most of her life. She grew up knowing him and knowing that one day she would marry him. It had all been arranged beforehand. So the bride was ready to marry the bridegroom, she just wasnâ€™t in love with him.
One of the most magnificent days in my life as a father was when I gave my oldest daughter Tiffany away at her wedding. During the pre-ceremony pictures she was so beautiful I couldnâ€™t even look at her. Ben and Tiffany had prepared their hearts and lives to be wedded one to another. For me it was the culmination of years of fervent prayer for my childrenâ€™s spouses. I had betrothed my daughter to her future husband and the day had come to give her away. Paul felt the same way about the young Corinthian church to the point of jealousy:
â€œFor I am jealous for you with godly jealousy. For I have betrothed you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.â€ (2 Corinthians 11:2)
Imagine being at a wedding where the father tries to upstage the bride or the best man tries to upstage the bridegroom. What a spectacle that would be but that is exactly what John the Baptistâ€™s followers were trying to have him do with Jesus.
â€œThen there arose a dispute between some of Johnâ€™s disciples and the Jews about purification. And they came to John and said to him, â€˜Rabbi, He who was with you beyond the Jordan, to whom you have testifiedâ€”behold, He is baptizing, and all are coming to Him!â€™ John answered and said, â€˜A man can receive nothing unless it has been given to him from heaven. You yourselves bear me witness, that I said, â€œI am not the Christ,â€ but, â€œI have been sent before Him.â€ He who has the bride is the bridegroom; but the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly because of the bridegroomâ€™s voice. Therefore this joy of mine is fulfilled. He must increase, but I must decrease.â€™â€ (John 3:25-30)
A father must be jealous for his betrothed daughter to the point of jealousy so as to present her as a chaste virgin. A best man should rejoice in the bridegroomâ€™s receiving his bride. Our Heaven Father is jealous for our purity for His Son so He may present us a chaste virgin unto Christ. A betrothed bride remains pure because she is in love with her bridegroom and wants to present herself as a chaste virgin on her wedding night.
I doubt many bridegrooms would receive a defiled bride to be his wife, in fact in Jewish tradition a betrothed woman who had relations with another man prior to her marriage would be considered an adulteress and a divorce could be sought by the bridegroom.
I am so glad that despite our unfaithfulness, our Bridegroom Jesus Christ is still returning for His Bride as promised by the prophet Hosea:
â€œâ€˜I will betroth you to Me forever; yes, I will betroth you to Me in righteousness and justice, in lovingkindness and mercy; I will betroth you to Me in faithfulness, and you shall know the LORD. It shall come to pass in that day that I will answer,â€ says the LORD.â€ (Hosea 2:19-21)
I am the bride of Christ because I am a member of the Church; not a church but the Church. And because I have been betrothed to the Bridegroom I must keep myself pure for when He comes for me. If I am in love with Him I will keep His commandments and I will love others. If I will do that then I will have made myself ready for His return.
â€œAnd I heard, as it were, the voice of a great multitude, as the sound of many waters and as the sound of mighty thunderings, saying, â€˜Alleluia! For the Lord God Omnipotent reigns! Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.â€™ 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.â€ (Revelation 19:6-9)
Am I gathering fine linen for that glorious day? Oh Lord Jesus I pray so because I know you are returning.
Warren Wiersbe writing on this passage from Revelation 19 reminds us:
â€œToday, God is calling out a people for His name, the church, the bride of Christ. One day the Bridegroom will come to claim His bride and take her to her home in Heaven.â€
Do you wait expectantly for that day? Are you preparing fine linen, clean and bright?
Or maybe you have not been betrothed to the Lord Jesus Christ. Today is the day of salvation!
Or perhaps you find yourself betrothed but not in love with the Bridegroom. It is time for you to seek His face and fall in love with His righteousness and justice; His lovingkindness and mercy.
Whatever your state, will you seek Him today?
I pray you will and I pray you have a wonderful weekend.
And please remember to go to church on Sunday
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Copyright Â© 2010 David Jeffers