Every little girl dreams of the big day. Satin and silks flow. The whoosh of veil and train keep cadence with Mendelsohn’s March. Sparkles, twinkles, and smiles adorn every face. Discreet tears appear at the corners of Daddy’s eyes. All the rituals are observed — no detail may be omitted. Bouquets are tossed and garters are launched. The happy couple is feted in every way possible. Rice, or birdseed, or sparklers send the new family off in wedded bliss. Every hope for the future is signed and sealed by the gathering of dearly beloved in the sight of God. The glorious day, the big day has come at last. All that is left is the hard work of happily, forever after.
Weddings should be joyful affairs. Celebrations of the first order. Whether lavish or simple, no expenditure of joy should be spared. It is a day to gather and celebrate what God said was “very good.” Jesus chose to begin his public ministry, celebrating a wedding at Cana. And at the end of all things, Jesus completes his redemptive work, celebrating the wedding supper of the Lamb. He commented regarding marriage, “…at the beginning of creation, God made them male and female. For this reason, a man will leave his father and mother and be united with his wife, and the two will become one flesh. So, they are no longer two but one. Therefore, what God has joined together, let man not separate.”
In both the Old and New Testaments, marriage is a human reflection of the covenant love of the Lord for His people. Throughout the Bible, the Lord makes the wedding vow – “I will be their God and they will be my people.” The LORD is the husband of Israel, and Christ is the husband of the Church. In an exhortation to husbands and wives, Paul reminds the Ephesians that Christ and the Church are the ideal for marital fidelity.
Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.Ephesians 5:25-32
Marriage radiates a beauty no casual relationship can imitate. It nourishes, cherishes, cleanses. As one theologian commented, “marriage produces efficacious love” – a love that has a powerful effect, a love mediated by something other than love of self. Its effect is to beautify. All substitutes fall short.
The final visions of Revelation make this point quite vividly. The contrast begun in Revelation 17 and continuing through Revelation 19 contrasts the Harlot and the Bride. A contrast which emphasizes the distinction between the deadly deceptive charms of the world, pictured as a luxuriant but violent prostitute, and the enduring, life-giving beauty of Christ’s church, pictured as a radiant bride.
In a world where Christ promises persecution while conformity to the world promises peace, it is easy to lose sight of this distinction between harlot and bride. But in Revelation 19 the Lord unveils for John, and for us, a picture of The Big Day – the promised wedding supper of the Lamb.
Weddings teach us to celebrate and expect great things. Revelation 19 shows God’s people, small and great celebrating all we should expect God to be and do. What great expectations breathe life into your hopes and dreams? Are you living in expectation of The Big Day? Join us this week as we examine Revelation 19 and consider how we are to live expectantly, even in the midst of adversity.
We meet from 5:00 – 6:30 pm at The Arkansas DreamCenter at 1116 Daisy L Gatson Bates Drive in Little Rock for worship. Get directions here or contact us for more info. You can also join us on Facebook Live @RiverCityARP or on YouTube.