Scripture Reading: Ephesians 5:22-33
“This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it (marriage) refers to Christ and the church.” (Ephesians 5:32)
Before we get into the specific instructions about marriage found in this passage, we must first look at the bigger issue. Paul clearly states that marriage is a picture of the relationship between Christ and His church; it is a picture of the gospel. This is what makes marriage so sacred and honored.
Christ the Bridegroom who loved His bride, the church, and gave Himself for her (v. 25). Christ sanctifies His church by cleansing her so that He might present the church to Himself in spender, without spot or wrinkle (vs. 26,27) and He nourishes and cherishes His church (v. 29). He provides for her and protects her. But primarily He loves His bride with an infinite, unconditional, and sacrificial love. A husband’s love for his wife is to be patterned after Christ’s love for His bride, the church (v. 25)
The church is the bride of Christ. Because He is the Head of the church, she is to be submissive to His loving leadership (v. 23,24). He has given Himself for her. He loves, cherishes and nourishes her and therefore she willingly submits to His loving leadership. Likewise, wives are to submit to the loving leadership of their husbands and they are to respect their husbands (v. 33).
The real issue here is the union Christ has with His people. We become one with Him. We share His life, death, resurrection and ascension. We become one with His great purpose and we take on His name. Likewise, a man and his wife are to become one as Christ and His church are one — “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh” (v. 31). Oneness is God’s great goal for marriage.
God’s grand story ends with a wedding feast — the marriage supper of the Lamb (Revelation 19:6-10). When the new heavens and new earth appear, the church (the bride of Christ) will be presented to Christ (the Bridegroom) — “And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband” (Revelation 21:2). God’s great plan of redemption will be fully realized. Then the church, Christ’s bride, will spend eternity with the Bridegroom.
Now you see what Paul meant when he wrote, “This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it (marriage) refers to Christ and His church.”
Jesus, You love me with an unconditional, unending and sacrificial love. Thank You for the institution of marriage and for all it represents. Bless those who are married and give us a greater appreciation for the sacred nature of it.
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