III. The Wedding
Some familiarity with traditional Jewish wedding customs helps us understand the wedding metaphor. The marriage begins long before the wedding! There are four parts to the process. The betrothal is an agreement between the groom and the father of the bride that is much more serious than our engagement. When the agreement is made they are man and wife. A waiting period follows during which the groom pays the dowry or provides a service equal to the amount owed to the father of the bride. The bride is occupied as well; during this time she prepares herself for the marriage. After the agreed upon interval the groom, along with a procession of his friends, takes the bride from her home to his home, or to the home of his parents. At last the celebration begins with a wedding feast that may last seven to fourteen days!
Match the following scriptures that correspond to a part of the Jewish marriage:
_________________“I promised you to one husband, to Christ, so that I might present you as a pure virgin to him” 2 Corinthians 11:2; Hosea 2:19-20.
_________________ “In my Father’s house are many rooms….I am going there 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” John 14:2-3.
_________________ “At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’” Matthew 25:6 (from the Parable of the Ten Virgins, Matthew 25:1-13, also see 25:31-33).
_________________ “The kingdom of heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son” Matthew 22:2ff.
It’s no accident that men and women are ‘wired’ to need a loving relationship. God makes no apology for His desire to have a loving relationship with his creation. Jesus knew his role because the bride and groom are God’s idea! It is right and good to celebrate a wedding. It is the picture of the great celebration to come, when Jesus and His church can be together, face to face, for eternity. It is because of the resurrection, which we celebrate today, that we know our hope is sure.