Read Ephesians 5
Perhaps no other attribute of the Church brings to mind such vivid imagery as “Bride of Christ.” Immediately, our minds turn to veils of white lace, handsome tuxedos, sweet-smelling orchids, soft candlelight, and tender love songs. Or, for fathers of recent brides, perhaps the image is of stacks of hundred-dollar bills flying out of a wallet! No matter the image, it’s undeniable this special attribute has incredibly deep meaning for all of us. However, that meaning may be better understood by reflecting on Jesus’ Jewish roots—and the cultural norms surrounding marriage in His day—rather than weddings in our contemporary American culture.
In ancient Jewish culture, marriages were arranged by parents. To be chosen as the bride of a wonderful man was an honor. To be chosen by a wealthy prince—the King’s only Son—who was also loving and kind, would be an unfathomable joy! To know the security of every need supplied with tender care, as described by Paul in Ephesians 5:29, would be incredible. Jesus chose the imagery of the bride, groom, and marriage to describe the special, intimate relationship He envisioned with those who choose to follow Him—those whose hearts are completely devoted and whose fondest desire is to live with Him forever in a loving, mutually committed relationship.
It’s not hard to imagine Jesus thinking about that image when He expresses His undying, covenantal love for His followers in His prayer in John 17 or in the parable about preparing for the bridegroom’s return in Matthew 25. Paul chooses the same imagery to describe how men should love their wives the way “Christ loved the Church and gave Himself for her” (Ephesians 5:25). What an honor to be chosen to be the Bride of Christ! How will you respond to such incredible love?
Pray for God to help you understand the magnitude of being chosen by the Prince of Glory, and thank Him for His love and the promise of eternity in His homeland.