The bride has made herself ready…
My person seems to be increasingly romantic and rather full of Life (Zoe) and Love (Agape) as we move toward the holidays. Romance causes us to be nostalgic and conceptual, rather than guarded and overly accurate. Something is happening that seems irresistible. Through a set of circumstances, I seem to have rediscovered that the entire redemptive act is set in the context of romance. We all seem to know this, but when the word bride opens like ‘fourth of July’, more needs to be said than we can verbalize.
Bride, as a title, is used 6 times; however, the concept is implied more times than I was able to count. Romance is personified in bride and Bridegroom. This romance begins early: “He who has the bride is the Bridegroom; I am a friend of the Bridegroom…” (John 3:29, immediately following the concept of the new birth).
For years, as a pastor, I married couples. There were usually two candles and a third. The idea was—my candle was blown out and her candle was blown out to testify that in the act of lighting the third one, now we are one. Try as I may, I discovered myself nearly unable to make the illustration viable. The sheer cost of becoming ONE did not seem to communicate.
Listen to Jesus summarizing the redemptive act in His personal prayer:
“That they all may be one, [just] as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be one in Us, so that the world may believe and be convinced that You have sent Me” (John 17:21). It seemed to shock me: He is giving Himself to the dramatic and severely costly process of transforming Himself into a Bridegroom. A Bridegroom who, when lifted up in the crucifixion, draws us all. We are overwhelmed at His willingness to give Himself. He is, actually and literally, romancing us!
Suddenly, the Kingdom Offer dramatically changed in tone and in purpose. Now, I could hear something that I have never heard before. It sounds like this: Would you or are you willing to become my Bride? Oh, the implications and ramifications that leaped up in my heart and human spirit. To be His bride would require me to become my authentic self. It would require me to blow out my own candle, to become One with Him. It would motivate me to deny the temptations and dark forces that seek to compromise me as His Bride.
There is a force of human strength, identified as “works of the flesh”. It is the primary cause of our losing intimacy with our Bridegroom. Technically it is identified as bio-power. Bios, from the term biology, is my determination to go my own way. I am married, but internally single. It causes me to misuse or abuse my human strength on myself, ignoring the cost to my Bridegroom.
I nearly burst into tears. Bios is natural life in contrast to Zoe. Zoe is the life that Christ imparted by reason of His death and resurrection. This life serves to make us One with our chosen Bridegroom. The idea of the price being too great to be made one with Him loses its power. We become the eager bride, embracing the conflict to please this Bridegroom who has conquered us in His love.
Father God surrendered His Sovereignty to His Son (John 5:22). Jesus Christ surrendered His Sovereignty to His Father (John 5:19). Christ Jesus, as our Bridegroom, asks us to surrender our sovereignty, in order for us to be One with Him as our Bridegroom. Oh, the joy of being “a bride that has made herself ready!”