Saturday, May 1, 2010

God of Love

“Jesus did many other miracles in the presence of his followers that are not written in this book. But these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. Then, by believing, you may have life through his name.”

This inspiring passage comes from the Gospel of John – a book of the Bible that’s full of eye-witness accounts of Christ’s miracles. In it we read about Jesus healing the sick, walking on water and raising the dead. And that’s not to mention His own miraculous Resurrection and subsequent victory over death and sin. But John’s Gospel also tells the famous story about a wedding Jesus attended. It was during the post-nuptial celebration that He performed the first of His public miracles: changing water into wine.

For centuries, scholars have speculated about this very practical marvel. It obviously demonstrated Jesus’ power over material things. But it also revealed something much more profound: that God takes a personal interest in His creation; and even with their mundane problems like running low on beverages at a wedding feast.

But there was another miracle that day. A man and woman were joined as one in the sight of God. And that’s something that He takes very seriously. So much so, in fact, that He made Jesus’ life a model for what marriage should be. And although Jesus never got married, cut a wedding cake or honeymooned at Niagara Falls, He knows what He’s talking about. After all, He does have a bride - the entire body of Christ-followers around the world known collectively as the Church.

It’s from this perspective that Christ teaches us some important lessons about marriage. First - like He did during His earthly ministry - husbands and wives need to submit to each other. This involves voluntarily relinquishing some of our rights while honoring and affirming the husband's leadership in the family. As Jesus explained about Himself, "For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many."

A related Biblical lesson about marriage is that husbands should show sacrificial love toward their wives - just as Jesus showed for His Church. That's unlikely to mean that husbands will literally need to die for their wives (although it could), but it does point to an intentional sacrifice of time and a genuine commitment toward a Christ-centered life together.

Both lessons reveal a critical insight that our modern culture chooses to ignore: successful marriages demand work, vision and commitment. And there's much more truth where that comes from. From the first passages of Genesis to the last verses of Revelation, the Bible teaches volumes about love, marriage and relationships.

But let's step back and consider Jesus' attitude toward His bride: the Church. How much stronger would our own marriages become if we adopted His principles of submission and sacrifice -- and then put them into action?

No comments: