Bride of Christ

Bride of Christ

Weddings are a beautiful ceremony of commitment and joy. They demonstrate the passionate love relationship between the bride and the groom. So when the Bible teaches that Jesus is the bridegroom and the church is the bride and the two will be united on the last day at the wedding supper of the lamb, we should take note of all the implications.

The Excitement of the Wedding Day

It was December 31, 2005 – New Year’s Eve Day. It was cold and snowing outside and I was dressed like a penguin, nervously waiting in a small office. When the pastor gave me the signal, I walked down the center aisle of the church to stand in front of all our friends and family. Moments later, I would be followed by a procession of our siblings and closest friends coming down the aisle with beautiful flowers in hand.

Then, as they all found their places, the music stopped and a new song began playing – “Edelweiss.” The doors at the back of the sanctuary opened, and there she stood – my bride, Michelle – on the arm of her dad.

Many of you can remember such moments. Many of you who are not yet married are looking forward to similar occasions. In that moment when the groom finally gets to see his bride – the person everyone had made sure he didn’t see all day – emotions fly sky high. The flirting turned to dating; then came the waiting, the longing to be together for good. It all finally comes to an end as the union between husband and wife is made official.

Many of you love weddings. You love the way it makes you remember the beginning of your own marriage. It brings up all sorts of romantic feelings and provides a spark of remembering why you made a covenant with your own spouse. For some of you who are widowed, perhaps weddings leave you with a deep longing to see the love of your life again in heaven. Most of us know what that intimate feeling of connection and passion for another person feels like.

I’m reminding you of all these feelings because they are part of the picture scripture gives us of our relationship to Jesus. In our current message series we are looking at various analogies in the Bible that help us understand who the church is called to be.

Today we look at the analogy of being called the Bride of Christ. In this picture, the church, the gathered people of God, are the bride who is committed in covenant with Jesus Christ, the groom – or the “bridegroom,” as the Bible calls Him. I love this picture for Jesus and His church. Our understanding of a healthy, loving, faithful marriage helps us catch just a glimpse of the intimate relationship Jesus wants with us.

Lessons from the Bride/Bridegroom Analogy

As you know, I love to trace themes through the Bible. Today we will walk through the Bible tracing this theme of the bride and bridegroom and explore what lesson each passage is teaching us.

The first explicit description of God as Bridegroom appears in the writings of the Prophet Isaiah.

Isaiah 62:5As a bridegroom rejoices over his bride, so will your God rejoice over you.

Lesson 1: Intimate Joy Experienced

God takes joy in His relationship with His people. He does not rule over us like a detached king, but takes a much more personal approach. He REJOICES over His beloved. There is an intimate connection between God and His people.

Many people still don’t understand this aspect of a Christian’s relationship with God. They think Christianity is about rules, sacraments, and not doing bad things. However, this is a foundational truth for our faith: God makes an intimate, joy-filled relationship available to each and every one of us through His Holy Spirit. That connection can be even closer than that of a husband and wife because the God of this universe truly knows everything about you.

In the books of Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Hosea, these prophets use extended metaphors to describe the people of Israel as an adulterous wife to God. They describe how the people of Israel were supposed to be committed to God, but instead they chased after the idols of other nations like wives chasing after other men.

Lesson 2: Faithful Devotion Expected

The lesson we learn from these three prophets is that God expects faithful devotion from His bride. He desires a singleness of heart and a mind focused on Him. This makes total sense in the picture of a marriage. No husband or wife wants to share his or her beloved. What makes the connection special and significant is that it is between just you two. No one else can say they share the same connection with you as that of your spouse.

When we remember that the bride in these passages and the ones to follow are all in the plural sense, it reminds us that our devotion is not limited to our personal devotion to God, but includes the corporate devotion of our churches. Is our church, First Baptist, wholly and totally committed to our relationship with God? Or are we chasing growth or financial stability or prestige among the churches in the community? These are very real temptations. They are the idols of our day.

In the New Testament, early in His ministry Jesus claims the title of the Bridegroom when asked why His disciples don’t fast like all the other rabbis’ disciples.

Mark 2:19-2019 Jesus answered, “How can the guests of the bridegroom fast while he is with them? They cannot, so long as they have him with them. 20 But the time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them, and on that day they will fast. 

Lesson 3: Jesus is the Bridegroom

This teaches us that the groom is no longer described as God, but as Jesus Christ, “God with Us.” More than that, Jesus says a time would come when He would be taken away. In the Gospel of John Jesus teaches that He has to go to prepare a place for us in His Father’s House.

This explains where we sit in God’s cosmic timeline. We have been committed to an eternal union with the Bridegroom; but for the time being, following His death and resurrection, Jesus is away from us in Heaven. This distance should create a longing in us, a desire to be united fully with the love of our lives. That’s why Jesus said that when He left, then His disciples would fast.

Later in His ministry Jesus taught about His coming return. He used a parable about a bridegroom and ten virgins waiting for Him.

Matthew 25:1, 5-6“At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins [These would be viewed as our modern bridesmaids.] who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom…. 5 The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep. 6 “At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’ 

Lesson 4: We Must Anticipate His Arrival

Half of the bridesmaids were ready for the bridegroom’s return, but half were not. Unfortunately, those who were not prepared were not allowed to enter into the wedding celebration. The moral of the story is that a time will come when Jesus, the Bridegroom, will return for His bride, and we must be ready.

In this world it’s easy to fall into routines of just taking care of our own business and forgetting that our entire world might one day be completely turned on its head when Jesus returns. After all, we’ve all lived our whole lives without that happening, but Jesus makes the point that He will return. One way or another, we will finally meet the Bridegroom face to face at a time we least expect. If we truly love Him and look forward to that meeting, be ready.

Finally, for one of the most famous passages comparing our relationship with Jesus to marriage, we turn to Ephesians.

Ephesians 5:25-2725 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 

Lesson 5: Christ Prepared Our Purity

Here we see that Jesus’s love for the church is the model for how men should love their wives. More than that, though, we see that Christ desires the church, His bride, to be pure, holy and blameless – a radiant church. Because of our inability to meet that demand, He gave Himself as a sacrifice to cleanse us of our sin. He commits to us, and when we make a mess of that commitment, His death on the cross purifies us.

As we look at these lessons as a whole, we learn that our relationship with Jesus Christ should be marked by joy, devotion, anticipation and purity beyond even our earthly marriages.

Unquenchable Love

To help us understand what this kind of passionate, loving and faithful relationship should look and feel like, we can turn to the book Song of Solomon. This highly debated book is thought by some to be about the romantic love between the king and the shepherdess while others read it symbolically about the love of God for His people. Either way, I want to share with you a powerful verse about the strength and depth of pure, unadulterated love.

Song of Solomon 8:6-7 – [The woman speaks to her beloved.]
6 Place me like a seal over your heart, 
like a seal on your arm;
for love is as strong as death, 
its jealousy unyielding as the grave. 
It burns like blazing fire, 
like a mighty flame. 
7 Many waters cannot quench love;
rivers cannot sweep it away.

Our desire for Jesus should burn inside our hearts like the unquenchable flame described in this scripture. This is what I want for every Christian in our church and in our community! When talking about the Bride of Christ, we can focus on interesting thoughts and details of the analogy, OR we can let it invite us to a deeper adoration and worship of our Savior. I want the latter for you!

I want your passion for Jesus to grow in your heart and my heart. I want you to anticipate His return as much as you anticipated your wedding day. I want you to give Him everything inside of you, holding nothing back, being completely 100 percent devoted to Him and following Him wherever He leads. When we open ourselves to loving Jesus that fully, we will begin to taste the Love He offers to us.

As Michelle sings this next song, which comes straight from the passage we just read, I encourage you to pray the words of the song for your own life and for your relationship with Jesus.

Song: “You Won’t Relent.”

Wedding Supper of the Lamb

Our job here on earth, as the church of Jesus, is to seek Him joyfully and with faithful devotion. We are to anticipate His return; and, while we wait, we turn to Him for the forgiveness of our sins so He may find us pure, holy and blameless when He returns.

Because all of God’s promises are “Yes, and Amen,” we know that one day the
Bridegroom WILL come back. What a day of rejoicing that will be!

What will that day look like? Just as little girls dream about their wedding days, we, as the saints of God, should be anticipating the Wedding Supper of the Lamb. The book of Revelation, uses the title “Lamb” to remind us of the very beginning of the covenant God made with His people: the Passover, when He rescued them from Egypt with His mighty hand and outstretched arm. In that moment, God decided He was going to take that people to be His own, His bride. From that very instant to the very end of time, we sit in an engagement period waiting to be reunited with the Love of our lives.

Revelation 19:6-9:

 6 Then I heard what sounded like a great multitude, like the roar of rushing waters and like loud peals of thunder, shouting: 
For our Lord God Almighty reigns. 
7 Let us rejoice and be glad 
and give him glory! 
For the wedding of the Lamb has come, 
and his bride has made herself ready. 
8 Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear.” [Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of God’s holy people.]
9 Then the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!” 

Jesus is coming back for His church. He left us for a while, but He has prepared us, purified us, and drawn us to Himself. Now each of us has the opportunity to be part of the Wedding Supper of the Lamb. All it takes is our response and our faithful devotion to the One who has given us so much. Will you accept the love of the Bridegroom?


This analogy of marriage, of the forthcoming union of the bride and the bridegroom, calls us to respond to Jesus with love, devotion and adoration. He is the only ONE who can fill our every need and satisfy our deepest longings. Our hearts should burn with unquenchable fire for our Savior and for what He has done for us. He died on a cross so that we, the church, may be presented to Him as holy, blameless and pure.

That love should drive us to eager expectation of His return and our ultimate union with Him in heaven. There we will enjoy the promised banquet – the Wedding Supper. One day – soon, we hope, Lord willing – we will all be gathered not in this sanctuary but in the throne room of heaven. As the spotless bride, we will finally experience the depth and intimacy of relationship our souls crave when we are united with Jesus, the Lamb of God. When that happens – “What a day of rejoicing that will be!”


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