For the past month or so I've been reading through the book of Matthew with hundreds of my closest friends, and it couldn't be better! If you're looking to grow in your understanding of God's word this year Join The Journey just might be right for you. Check it out here.
Matthew has been challenging me at every turn and expanding my view of Jesus. New things are jumping off the page daily. Things I haven't noticed before and things that stand out in new ways because of the way my life and the world have changed since I last swam through Matthew's gospel. Some of these things are small details and some are big, concepts that rock my world like the fact that Jesus is a freaking B.A. in so many ways! I mean, that guy had it going on in a real way!
Before I let this thing go off the rails too much, let's get back to last week because its important.
Marriage is a really, really big, super important, huge, special, amazing, part of the story of the Bible, and thus God's plan.
Don't let the crazy extravagant Trump like use of superlatives throw you. The concept and understanding of marriage is vitally important.
Case in point, Matthew 9:15. On the surface this is a crazy place to go if you're going to set forth the argument I just suggested above but as we dig a little deeper, perhaps it's a great place for us to go.
"And Jesus said to them, “Can the wedding guests mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast." (Matthew 9:15)
See what I mean? Crazy place to go right?
As with any passage of scripture, it is helpful to read more than one verse and maybe mix in a little context. You know, so we don't take verses some place they weren't intended to go.
So what's going on in Matthew 9?
So far in Matthew 9 we've seen Jesus completely blow people's minds by healing a paralyzed guy in dramatic fashion. For more detail on this miracle see Luke 5:17-24. Then we see Jesus calling Matthew and putting the Pharisees in their place again. Which brings us to 9:14, where the disciples of John the Baptist are criticizing the disciples of Jesus for not observing several fasts that were not required by the Mosaic Law but had been added in addition by the religious rulers of the day. Jesus uses some great illustrations in reply.
Which brings us back to verse 15.
Jesus refers to himself as "the bridegroom", which is the concept I want to sit in today.
What does this phrase mean / represent?
Here's what Dr. Tom Constable has to say:
The Old Testament used the groom figure to describe God (Ps. 45; Isa. 54:5- 6; 62:4- 5; Hos. 2:16- 20). The Jews also used it of Messiah's coming and the messianic banquet (Matt 22:2; 25:1; 2 Cor. 11:2; Eph. 5:23- 32; Rev. 19:7, 9; 21:2). When Jesus applied this figure to Himself, He was claiming to be the Messiah, and He was claiming that the kingdom banquet was imminent.
So this idea of God (Christ) as the groom is not unique to Matthew 9 but is part of the larger story of scripture. That's pretty remarkable when you stop to think about it. God calls himself the groom and his people the bride.
Another way to look at this is that marriage is the primary analogy / picture God uses to tell us about Himself and our relationship to Him. (Ephesians 5:32)
If this is the case, then the entire concept of marriage must be a BIG deal.
God gave us marriage so that we would have a means by which to understand and grasp what He is up to. He created marriage so that we could later understand the gospel.
That simply blows my mind!
All the more reason to hold marriage in high regard.
Marriage is serious business and shouldn't be treated lightly. If I'm honest, I treat my own marriage lightly far more often that I'd like. Reflecting on truths like this one, help me get back on track and love my wife the way I should and I hope it does the same for you as well.