The Ideal Husband

In response to a question about fasting, Jesus reveals something very precious about Himself: He is the long-awaited Bridegroom of Israel. Yahweh frequently identifies Himself as the husband of Israel, his people in the Old Testament. - Psalm 45 shows Him to be a glorious King, resplendent in majesty as He rides on to endless victories. - Hosea the prophet declares to the northern kingdom of Israel that their worship of idols amounts to spiritual adultery against the LORD who had loved and saved them. - Later, Ezekiel proclaims the same message to the southern kingdom of Judah, and relates how God had found her as an abandoned baby in the wilderness; cleaned and clothed her; wooed her with tender words; and fed her with the finest fare. Both of these spokesmen for Yahweh reveal His broken heart over their infidelity, His burning jealousy for their dedicated affection, and His faithfulness to His promise to be their God and Savior, despite their sins. In the meantime, however, He cannot abide their unfaithfulness, which amounts to self-destructive folly as well as inexcusable rebellion. As King, He deserves and demands total obedience. If they refuse to heed His warnings and return to Him, He will pour out upon them His anger, through plagues, locusts, and ruthless foreign invaders. They will be left naked, desolate, and despised in a barren wilderness once again. And so it happened, again and again, until Israel was destroyed by Assyria and then Judah was taken into captivity by Babylon. But what of the promise that God would not forget or forsake His chosen people, whom He had once sworn to love forever? Had not Zephaniah foretold a time when Yahweh would be in their midst, rejoicing over them with songs of love? Longing for redemption from the Romans, who had occupied their land and installed a puppet Edomite as King, Israelites looked for One who would come to save. Imagine their thoughts when Jesus, in this parable and others, revealed Himself as the heavenly Husband!