My husband, Pete, and I just returned from the celebration of our daughter’s wedding in Australia. After three years of dating, she married her high school sweetheart and the man of her dreams. The ceremony was pure joy!
Every wedding is a preview and picture of an even greater wedding that’s to come.
There is a Groom, shining in glorious beauty, waiting for His bride and longing for their union. The joy of this wedding day will be unsurpassed by even the most glorious earthly wedding. Many weddings on earth start out joyous, but the marriages they represent may turn sorrowful as the years pass. But the wedding to come will bring only joy.
“You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy;
At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore” (Psalm 16:11).
The first miracle that Jesus performed on earth was at a wedding. He turned water into very good wine at the wedding of Cana (John 2). The fact that His first recorded miracle is at a wedding points to the reason for Jesus’ coming. He came ultimately to bring joy at a wedding, a wedding yet to come. He came to earth to lay down His life in exchange for the sin of the world, so that the world would have the opportunity to join Him at that final wedding in heaven. Without His death, sin would keep us from the wedding and from union with God. What is holy cannot unite with what is unholy. We could not join God in heaven without the cleansing brought to us by the death of Jesus. So Jesus came and gave His life, for the love of His Bride. Those who acknowledge His gift, and respond to Him, are His Bride.
“I will greatly rejoice in the LORD,
My soul shall be joyful in my God;
For He has clothed me with the garments of salvation,
He has covered me with the robe of righteousness,
As a bridegroom decks himself with ornaments,
And as a bride adorns herself with her jewels” (Isaiah 61:10).
“For as a young man marries a virgin,
So shall your sons marry you;
And as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride,
So shall your God rejoice over you” (Isaiah 62:5).
In Matthew 22 Jesus said, “the kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who arranged a marriage for his son”. Jesus goes on in the parable to describe the king sending out servants to invite people to the wedding. Of those initially invited, many made excuses and did not come. The king then invited everyone everywhere to the wedding. The wedding hall was filled with guests who were given wedding garments to cover their uncleanness. Without these garments they could not stay at the wedding (Matt. 22:11-12), and would be eternally separated from the King.
Our heavenly Father is the King who has arranged a wedding for His Son.
This parable vividly describes for us what the kingdom of heaven is like. Our heavenly Father is the King who has arranged a wedding for His Son. Among the Jewish people originally invited, many made excuses and were not willing to come to the King’s wedding. Now, all have been invited. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever would believe in Him would not perish, but receive everlasting life” (John 3:16). The doors to the wedding of the King are open to all. Jesus has provided beautiful white wedding garments for the Bride to wear, cleansing and covering her sin. The Groom has made provision for the Bride’s covering because she could not cover herself.
Now the Groom waits, in eager expectation of a wedding on the horizon.
His passion for His Bride, (those who have responded to His voice), is most clearly demonstrated in the cross. That Christ would be willing to leave the wonder and perfection of heaven, and humble himself to suffer a sinner’s death on the cross, shows the depth of the incredible love He has for the Bride He came to redeem. The love and passion of Christ for His Bride is again clearly portrayed in the Songs of Solomon. God uses the songs of the lovestruck King Solomon, who was in love with the very idea of love (1Kings 11:3), to reveal the heart of God for His people. For example, notice the “Beloved’s” words to His bride throughout the Songs of Solomon:
“Behold, you are fair, my love!
Behold, you are fair!
You have dove’s eyes.” (1:15)
“Like a lily among thorns,
So is my love among the daughters.” (2:2)
“You are all fair, my love,
And there is no spot in you.” (4:7)
“My dove, my perfect one…” (6:9)
“Who is she who looks forth as the morning,
Fair as the moon, Clear as the sun…” (6:10)
It is sufficient to say that the Groom is crazy about His Bride.
He thinks she is absolutely gorgeous, and “perfect”! She has “no spot” since the Groom (Jesus) has cleansed her completely. She is “clear” and “shining like the sun”. She is “like a lily among the thorns” of the world. And this bride feels confident in responding to her groom, “I am my beloved’s, and his desire is toward me” (Songs 7:10).
Many years ago, as a young believer, the Lord made this truth very personal to me. In a time of sorrow in my life the Lord showed me a vision. I saw myself in a gorgeous white wedding gown shining brightly, and the Lord said to me, “I am preparing you to be my bride.” That truth has stuck with me all my life; it has caused me to understand the depth of the love that Jesus has for me as His bride. All the difficult things we experience in this life can serve to set us apart for Him. As the Song of Solomon 4:12 says, “A garden enclosed is my sister, my spouse, a spring shut up, a fountain sealed.” We are set apart as a private garden for the Lord. He is our Groom. His love is for us and ours for Him.
As we prepare to celebrate Valentine’s Day in 2015, may we each be assured of the love that Jesus has for us.
He loves the whole world. He desires that each and every person would respond to His love. He died to bring us to heaven with Himself. As you respond to Him and choose to come after Him, to be His bride - set apart for Him, know the incredible and deep, abiding, love that Jesus has for you. He longs to be with you. He thinks of you minute by minute. He sees you (in Him) as a pure and beautiful bride who He cannot wait to embrace!
“And the Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let him who hears say, “Come!” And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely” (Rev. 22:17).
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