The Bridegroom

by Dr. Jim Lemons, DBU Faculty

Day 24 of Advent

Today's Reading

Matthew 9:15

"Jesus answered, “How can the guests of the bridegroom mourn while he is with them? The time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; then they will fast." Matthew 9:15

As a minister, I performed many weddings in my 25 years of pastoral ministry. There’s one wedding, in particular, I will never forget, although I really wish I could. On the day of the wedding, everything and everyone seemed to be in place. It was time for the ceremony to begin. I went to check on the bridegroom and he was anxiously waiting in his appointed place in the church’s groom’s room. I went to check on the bride and the rest of the bridal party in the church’s bridal room. But much to my dismay the bride wasn’t even dressed yet! She had left her bridal gown at home and her mother was frantically on her way home to fetch the dress…a 30-minute drive each way. Needless to say, we had to delay the start of the ceremony for over an hour. The bridegroom was ready, but the bride wasn’t.

The word  bridegroom is used often in the Bible as a metaphor for God, specifically for Jesus Christ. The church is likened to a bride with Christ as her bridegroom. When Jesus was with His disciples, He answered a question about fasting with an analogy involving a bridegroom: “How can the guests of the bridegroom fast while he is with them? They cannot, so long as they have him with them. But the time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them, and on that day they will fast” (Mark 2:19–20). Jesus is the bridegroom, and His disciples are the wedding guests. John the Baptist presented himself as the “friend who attends the bridegroom,” which is the person we would today call the “best man” (John 3:29). John said, “The bride belongs to the bridegroom,” and by this he referred to Jesus and the church, His spiritual bride, who stands by His side and invites people in, saying, “‘Come!’ Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life” (Revelation 22:17).

So Jesus is the Bridegroom and, as His church, we are currently His betrothed bride. But the interesting thing is that the actual wedding ceremony hasn’t taken place yet. Our “engagement” to the Bridegroom will be consummated in a great wedding in heaven one day, when Jesus returns, and when the Bridegroom and Bride will be eternally joined together in blissful “marriage.”

Revelation 19:7-9 (NIV)

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.
Fine linen, bright and clean,
    was given her to wear.”
Then the angel said to me, “Write this: 
Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!” 

And he added, “These are the true words of God.”

On that glorious day, there will be a great party in heaven, the wedding supper of the Lamb. And what an eternal love feast that will be! 

The Bridegroom is ready and waiting for us in His appointed place at the right hand of the Father. And as his soon-to-be bride, it’s our job to make sure we are ready for the wedding. Perhaps as this Christmas Day 2021 approaches, this would be a good time for all of us to ask ourselves, “Are we ready to meet our Bridegroom? Are we ready for the wedding supper of the Lamb? Will our heavenly ‘fine linen’ be forever marked with righteous and holy acts that we are committed to doing right now in the power of the Holy Spirit?”