I’m not sure about you, but ever since I was a little girl, I have eagerly anticipated the day when I would get married. What was the dress going to look like; Where would we get married; What kind of cake will we have?… But most importantly, I’d daydream about who my future husband would be. And this is something that occurred to me last night while heading home from church. I had the windows rolled all the way down, music blaring as my hair got tangled up in the wind, and a song came on. “Even so come” by Passion Conference came on my Pandora radio playlist and the chorus stood out to me.
“Like a bride waiting for her groom
We’ll be a Church ready for You
Every heart longing for our King
We sing ‘even so come’
Lord Jesus, come
Even so come
Lord Jesus, come”
This made me think about how, even as a little girl, I have been the type of woman who has anticipated my wedding day. As a woman, I have always prayed that I will one day be a bride to a God-fearing man. And hearing these lyrics kind of stopped me in my tracks. I wanted to dig deeper into the idea of how we, the Church and body of Believers, are the bride of Christ. And how my anticipation for being a wife to a man one day correlates to my anticipation as a Christian to being with Christ in heaven one day.
In biblical times and even in certain cultures today, the marriage process was and is very different to what it is the majority of the world. Most people get engaged and then set a date, and then together the couple plans the wedding and pays for the wedding. But it wasn’t like this in the times of the bible. And I am so excited to share how profound the illustration of a “bride and groom” is for God and His people. During the times of the bible, the couple would announce their betrothal to everyone, making it known that they would be married to one another (very much like an engagement.) But unlike engagements now-a-days, these betrothals were bonding and were not broken.
So during this time, the groom would pay a certain price for the bride to the brides father in order to win his hand in their marriage. Sometimes it was livestock, sometimes it was of monetary value, large amounts of land and even long periods of time spent through physical labor (Genesis 29:18). But it cost the groom an exceptional price in order to be worthy of taking the woman to be his bride. Once this took place, they would then go and live separately for a time, while the groom prepared a home for the new couple.
The groom would build their home from scratch, and would work hard to make sure that it was a safe, sturdy, and reliable place to bring his new wife home to. The thing about this, is that they didn’t set a marriage date. In modern days, when a couple gets engaged, they set a wedding date and prepare everything up until the day of the wedding. But back then, they had their wedding whenever the groom had finish preparing their home. When he would finish the home for them, her father would give the groom permission to call on his bride after looking over the home and deciding it was fit for them to live in. He would send for her to come and she would meet him there in their new home, which the groom labored hard over.
As the husband prepared the home, the wife was away preparing herself. She would find her best clothes and make a beautiful gown to wear for the wedding; only choosing the best linens and purest fabrics she had. She didn’t know when her groom would call on her to come home, so she would act with swiftness, ready for whenever her husband would call her to come home. And once everything was prepared, there was a great feast and celebration!
This illustration used throughout the Word is so incredible when we think about what it was intended to mean. The groom, Christ, paid a price for his bride, us. As seen in 1 Corinthians 6:20 & 7:23, it refers to the price Jesus paid for us, so that we may live. “You were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies…. You were bought at a price; do not become slaves of human beings.” Christ paid the debt that we owed when he died on the cross. He bore the weight of our sin so that we may have eternal life. Just as the groom paid an extremely precious amount for his bride, so Christ paid the price that no man could in order for us to one day be with Him.
Next the groom, Christ, went away to prepare the home for the bride, us, and him to live. Christ also does this and it is recorded for us in the scripture. “My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.” John 14:3-4. Jesus said these words himself, and was referring to heaven as the place where he was going to prepare a place for us. He is the groom who has gone away for a little while to prepare a place for his bride to come to.
As the groom is preparing their dwelling place, the bride, us, is preparing herself for the groom. We are called to prepare our hearts and lives for the day that Jesus returns. Colossians 2:6-7 says “So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.” We need to be ready, prepared, and expectant for when our groom calls us home. Just like the bride in the illustration, she doesn’t know when her groom will call on her to come to their home, so she prepares with purpose and determination, excitedly anticipating her groom and the promised dwelling place. We do not know the time or place when the Lord will return and bring His people home, similar to how the bride is. “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father…. Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come.” Matthew 24:36 & 42.
I look at how I, as a woman, am eager for the day when I get married, and laugh to myself, feeling very silly at times for still thinking that way. But then I think about how eager I am to one day be in the presence of my Lord and Savior, and I am reminded about just how precious it is and all the more exciting! As the children of God, followers of the Way, we are called to prepare for when the Lord returns. I cannot go into all the ways we can prepare ourselves for when Christ returns because there is so much scripture that speaks about this. But something the Lord revealed to me was Matthew 7:20, “Thus, by their fruits you will recognize them.” Jesus was referring to false prophets and how to discern truth from lies. We will be able to tell when we look at the fruits of our lives whether we have been preparing for Christ’s return.
The fruits talked about here are the fruits of the Spirit, mentioned in Galatians 5:22. So this illustration hasn’t meant as much to me as it does now and I pray that as His Church, His people, we will be ready for the return of Jesus! For all you guys out there, I know thinking of yourself as a “bride” may make you feel a little less like a man, but it isn’t even about that. It is about the idea and analogy that Jesus made to give us a better understanding of our relationship with Him. We must evaluate our lives and eagerly prepare for when our Savior calls us home to the place He has prepared for us. “As a bride waiting for her groom, We’ll be a Church ready for You.” Let’s be the a people who is ready and prepared for Christ to come back again!
I pray you all have a blessed day and that the Holy Spirit uses this to open the eyes and hearts of our fellow brothers and sisters the same way He did for me. God bless!! “As a young man marries a young woman, so will your Builder marry you; as a bridegroom rejoices over his bride, so will your God rejoice over you.” Isaiah 62:5.