Based in St. Cloud, Minnesota, Growing in Grace is a blog by Pastor Matthew Molesky. His posts explore the Bible, theology, ecclesiology, culture, books, family, and life.

He Is Our Bridegroom

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In Luke 5:34-35, in response to the Pharisees questioning his behavior, Jesus describes himself as a bridegroom. And more, not merely a bridegroom to be, but one who has arrived, is at the reception with the guests, and engaged in the festivities. It is a remarkable picture, having just stated that he has come to "call sinners to repentance" (Luke 5:32). What has one to do with the other? In the new way that Jesus has brought, repentance is associated with joy.

J.C. Ryle informs our imaginations with the image of Jesus as bridegroom:

The name "bridegroom," like every other name given to our Lord in the Bible, is full of instruction. It is a name especially comforting to all true Christians. It teaches the deep and tender love which jesus has for all sinners who believe in him. Weak and unworthy as they are in themselves, he feels toward them a tender affection, just as a husband does toward his wife. It teaches the close and intimate union between Jesus and believers. It is something much closer than the union between king and subject, master and servant, teacher and pupil, or shepherd and sheep. Above everything else the name teaches that entire participation in everything that Jesus is and has is the privilege of every believer. Just as the husband gives to his wife his name and makes her joint owner of his property and home, so does Christ deal with all true Christians. He takes on himself all their sins. He declares that they are part of himself and that he who hurts them hurts him. He gives them, even in this world, such good things as pass man's understanding. And he promises that in the next world they will sit with him on his throne and never leave his presence. (Luke, J.C. Ryle, p. 71)

So Jesus moves towards those that nobody else wants in society. He moves towards sinners. And he says to them, "I want you to turn from the ways you have always known, the behaviors that have become habit, the destructive mistakes you make again and again. And I want you to turn toward me. I will make you my bride. And all this (above), will be yours!"

Would the response in that moment be fasting, praying, and tears of remorse? Jesus says, emphatically, "No!" The response is to throw a party, break out the food, pour the wine, and celebrate the marriage with a raucous feast!

Why? Because, God has come as the bridegroom, the very thing the Pharisees would have known:

I am overwhelmed with joy in the Lord my God!

For he has dressed me with the clothing of salvation

and draped me in a robe of righteousness.

I am like a bridegroom in his wedding suit

or a bride with her jewels. (Isaiah 61:10, NLT)

And:

Never again will you be called “The Forsaken City”*

or “The Desolate Land.”*

Your new name will be “The City of God’s Delight”*

and “The Bride of God,”*

for the Lord delights in you

and will claim you as his bride.

Your children will commit themselves to you, O Jerusalem,

just as a young man commits himself to his bride.

Then God will rejoice over you

as a bridegroom rejoices over his bride. (Isaiah 62:4-5, NLT)

 

Good Christian men rejoice

With heart and soul and voice!

Give ye heed to what we say

News! News!

Jesus Christ is born today!

Ox and ass before Him bow

And He is in the manger now

Christ is born today!

Christ is born today!

Good Christian men, rejoice

With heart and soul and voice

Now ye hear of endless bliss

Joy! Joy!

Jesus Christ was born for this

He hath ope'd the heav'nly door

And man is blessed evermore

Christ was born for this

Christ was born for this

Good Christian men, rejoice

With heart and soul and voice

Now ye need not fear the grave:

Peace! Peace!

Jesus Christ was born to save

Calls you one and calls you all

To gain His everlasting hall

Christ was born to save

Christ was born to save

He Is Not Afraid

The Beauty of Jesus

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