“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
THINK ABOUT IT
Read the context of this verse in Matthew 9:14-17.
Fasting was a part of Old Testament covenant law and was something done in times of sorrow, particularly nation-wide sorrow. The Jews pictured the coming of the Messiah as being like a joyful wedding celebration and not a time to fast, but to feast. So by using this expression “bridegroom” in reference to Himself, what was Jesus saying?
As the “bridegroom” at the wedding celebration, Jesus was announcing Himself to the Jews as their Messiah. He was telling them that it was time to celebrate not to mourn. He was showing them that the redemption of Israel, for which they fasted and waited, was right before their eyes. That was offense enough. But then, adding insult to injury, the Lord changes the picture from that of the bridegroom at the wedding celebration to giving practical instructions with a spiritual twist on how to store new wine.
How would you explain the illustration of the old and new wineskins that Jesus uses in verses 16 and 17?
R.V.G. Tasker writes: “The two illustrations with which this passage ends indicate Jesus’ awareness that it was becoming more and more certain that there was a fundamental incompatibility between the old Israel, paralyzed by self-righteousness
and overloaded with petty regulations, and the new Israel humbled by the consciousness of sin, and turning in faith to Jesus the Messiah for forgiveness. The old garment could not contain the new cloth. The new wine of messianic forgivenss could not be preserved in the parched wine-skins of Jewish legalism.” (Matthew, Tyndale New Testament Commentaries, Intervarsity Press, 1961, pg. 98)
The New Testament describes Christ as the Bridegroom and church as His bride (Revelation 21:2, 9). According to Ephesians 5:23-33, what are the implications of the relationship between Christ as Bridegroom and the church as His bride?
It is a relationship of submission, of love and respect, of protection and of each working for the benefit of the other. It is an unbreakable union. According to verse 25, what was the ultimate expression of the love of the Bridegroom for His bride?
And according to verse 26, what was the ultimate goal of this expression of love?
The ideal husband is the one who would give up his very life in order that his wife be all that she could be. This aptly describes the relationship of Christ to His church and His relationship to us as believers.
PRAY ABOUT IT
Thank the Lord for His love, that love that took Him to the cross to buy you back from the slave market of sin, that love that brought Him to claim you as His bride, and that love that still works on your behalf to make you all that you were ever meant to be.
ACT ON IT
Why should it be easy to submit to a husband who would give up his very life in order that his wife be all that she could be?
If this illustration of bride ande bridegroom is true of Christ’s relationship to us, why do we find it so difficult to submit ourselves to Him when we know that He is investing everything He has and is in order to benefit us?
How’s your love life with Jesus? What do you need to do to improve it? It may be question of making some changes in your lifestyle, of confessing some failure or sin that has kept you from enjoying the love of the Bridegroom and loving Him as you ought. Our relationship with Christ can be one of perpetual honeymoon if we allow it to be.
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