Jesus the Bridegroom

The disciples of John the Baptist had asked Jesus why they and the followers of the Pharisees fasted regularly, but His disciples did not. Jesus’ reply strikes at the heart of man-centered religion, with all its rules and regulations. The Jews of His day tried to get right with God by engaging in all sorts of “religious” activity, but He pointed them to a different way of life. Jesus offered them – and us – a relationship. More than that, He presented Himself as a bridegroom, what we would today call the groom at a wedding. Often in the Old Testament God had portrayed Himself as the husband of His people Israel (Psalm 45; Ezekiel 16; Hosea; etc.). He had chosen them, loved them, delivered them, and bound them to Himself with cords of love. By calling Himself the Bridegroom, Jesus asserts His deity. At the same time, He invites us into a relationship with Him that surpasses even the intimacy of husband and wife. Since we are sinners, however, we can only enjoy this communion with God in Christ because Jesus, the Son of God, died for us. “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church, and gave Himself for her” (Ephesians 5:25). Even now, at the right hand of the Father, the Lord Jesus, by His Spirit, “nourishes and cherishes” all who trust in Him (Ephesians 5:29). Shall we not turn from all other would-be “lovers” and, through repentance and faith, unite ourselves to our heavenly bridegroom?