So you get my point about the fairy tales. You can see the sin, fallen-ness, rescue thing. But you’re still skeptical about the whole “Prince and Princess fall in love” bit. You think I’m over-romanticizing the Bible, turning it into a fairy tale.
Sure, I’ve taken some creative liberties with the story of redemption–but the idea of God pursuing us as a man pursues a woman is not new. In fact, it’s found all over Scripture.
Both Jesus and John refer to Christ as being a bridegroom.
When some people came to John, telling him about how Jesus was baptizing people and how people were coming to Him, John responded without jealousy: “He who has the bride is the bridegroom, but the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice. Therefore this joy of mine is fulfilled.” (John 3:29) John likens himself to the best man at a wedding where Jesus is the groom. John is ecstatic that the groom has arrived and the wedding approaches.
When others complained to Jesus that His disciples did not fast like the disciples of John did, Jesus answered, “Can you make the friends of the bridegroom fast while the bridegroom is with them? But the days will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them; then they will fast in those days.” (Luke 5:34-35) Jesus asks, “Why would you make the groomsmen fast during the celebration leading up to the wedding? When the groom leaves, then the groomsmen will fast.” It is clear that Jesus is speaking of Himself as the bridegroom, and His disciples as the groomsmen.
Paul also picks up this theme in I Corinthians 11:2 “For I am jealous for you with godly jealousy. For I have betrothed you to one husband, that I may present as a chaste virgin to Christ.” Like a father, or perhaps a matchmaker, who has arranged a match between Christ and the Corinthian church, Paul is rooting for the relationship to work. He speaks of his fear that somehow the bride will call off the match, “falling in love” with another man.
Let’s put the pieces together. We have Jesus, arriving on the scene, announcing that He is a bridegroom. He has paid a great bride-price, laying down His own life. The church is now betrothed to Christ–and Jesus has ascended to heaven. “In My Father’s house are many mansions….I go to prepare a place for you.” (John 14:2) Jesus is now in heaven, preparing the place for His bride–but He has promised that He will return. “I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.” (John 14:3)
The very end of Revelation tells the end of this glorious story. “‘Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.’ And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints….’Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb.'” (Revelation 19:7-9)
Someday, the home shall be prepared, the groom shall return, the bride and the marriage supper shall be ready, and the story will draw to a close. The happily ever after will begin. Until that day, we–the church, the bride of Christ–wait in eager expectation. “And the spirit and the bride say, ‘Come!’ And let him who hears say ‘Come!’….Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus!” (Revelation 22:17, 20)