Monday, March 15, 2010

Jesus: The Bridegroom

Jesus uses titles to describe himself to us. This one is surprising and yet stunning.
Look at Mark 2v19-20 - And Jesus said to them,
“Can the wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them?
As long as they have the bridegroom with them, they cannot fast. 20 The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast in that day.
Jesus calls himself “the bridegroom”.

It’s an overwhelmingly positive image of a lover on his wedding day. Besotted and devoted. Mark tells us, in line with many of the other writers of the Bible, that when God comes and stands in the room, he does so as the bridegroom. We find the bridegroom in Genesis, Ezekiel, Hosea, Song of Songs, Ephesians, Revelation... and in the gospels.

He comes as one who loves us. When he is among his people they feast – though they’ll mourn and fast in his absence.

The image here isn’t Jesus the husband to individuals – that could be icky for some of us – but of the husband to a people, to his people the church. A people gathered from all nations of the world, from all classes and backgrounds, populated above all by the tax collector, the sinner, those who know they need Jesus. This is the church – a people who have tasted the goodness of Jesus – who love nothing more than him.

He loves this people. He loves this people with his life.

When he speaks of the sad days of his departure he is referring to his death – the climax of Mark’s account of Jesus’ life – casting its shadow over the whole book. A day when he will stand under the curse that we deserve and open the way for us to come to God.

In his death he gives himself for us to give himself to us. To bring forgiveness, and welcome and life itself. He goes to his death and returns, resurrected from the dead three days later. After that he departed again to return to his Father, sending the third person of the Triune God – The Holy Spirit – to live within his people until his final return, on a day called “the wedding supper of the Lamb”.

I have a colleague getting married in three weeks and you can't shut her up about it. And you wouldn't want to. So too the Christian, longs and yearns and aches for the day when with all God's people they'll be with the bridegroom.

Jesus the bridegroom is not about religion. Jesus the bridegroom gives himself to give forgiveness Jesus the bridegroom welcomes sinners to come and eat with him. Jesus the bridegroom gives himself to us, for what is the groom without his bride - and what could the bride desire more than to be with his bride.


  1. I love this sentence:

    "In his death he gives himself for us to give himself to us."

    I'm gonna steal it. Try and stop me!

  2. I want to think it's a Bish original, but I'm guessing I probably got it from somewhere else... quite possibly from Robert Jenson on The Song of Songs...