Where do you find pure love – a love that is real – that comes without a personal agenda? We live in a fallen world where plans are made, and words are crafted to deceive. Tragically, there are times when we will trust and believe in someone who turns out to be a silver-tongued devil with their own personal agenda. You know the ones whose “talk is smooth as butter, yet war is in his heart; his words are more soothing than oil, yet they are drawn swords” (Ps 55:21 NIV). Granted war may not be in their plan, but neither is the truth. They “love evil rather than good, falsehood rather than speaking the truth” (Ps 52:3 NIV). “Such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naive people” (Rom 16:18 NIV). It is sad, but very much a reality. What do you do? How do you keep from getting jaded? How do you prevent bitterness from taking root? (Heb 12:15). There is a person that will never fail you. There is One who loves you far beyond measure. For a moment let us step out of this world with all of its broken relationships and take a journey through the Scripture, so we can get a glimpse of what pure, true, sacrificial, unconditional love looks like and who it is that is trustworthy to hold our heart through all of eternity. “He has brought me to his banquet hall, and his banner over me is love” (Song 2:4 NASB). “My beloved is mine and I am his” (Song 2:16 NIV).
Christ Jesus is the bridegroom, and we are His bride. Listen to the words of the LORD spoken through the prophet, Isaiah: “‘Do not be afraid; you will not be put to shame. Do not fear disgrace; you will not be humiliated…For your Maker is your husband—the LORD Almighty is his name—the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer; he is called the God of all the earth. The LORD will call you back as if you were a wife deserted and distressed in spirit—a wife who married young, only to be rejected,’ says your God. ‘For a brief moment I abandoned you, but with deep compassion I will bring you back. In a surge of anger I hid my face from you for a moment, but with everlasting kindness I will have compassion on you,’ says the LORD your Redeemer” (Isa 54:4-8 NIV). “‘For I, the LORD, love justice; I hate robbery and wrongdoing. In my faithfulness I will reward my people and make an everlasting covenant with them. Their descendants will be known among the nations and their offspring among the peoples. All who see them will acknowledge that they are a people the LORD has blessed.’ I delight greatly in the LORD; my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. For as the soil makes the sprout come up and a garden causes seeds to grow, so the Sovereign LORD will make righteousness and praise spring up before all nations” (Isa 61:8-11 NIV). “My beloved is mine and I am his” (Song 2:16 NIV). His banner over me is love” (Song 2:4 NASB).
Christ Jesus is the bridegroom, and we are His bride. John the Baptist attests that Jesus is the bridegroom when “an argument developed between some of John’s disciples and a certain Jew over the matter of ceremonial washing. They came to John and said to him, ‘Rabbi, that man who was with you on the other side of the Jordan—the one you testified about—look, he is baptizing, and everyone is going to him.’ To this John replied, ‘A person can receive only what is given them from heaven. You yourselves can testify that I said, ‘I am not the Messiah but am sent ahead of him.’ The bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom’s voice. That joy is mine, and it is now complete. He must become greater; I must become less.” (John 3:25-30 NIV). John was the friend – “A voice of one calling: ‘In the wilderness prepare the way for the LORD; make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be raised up, every mountain and hill made low; the rough ground shall become level, the rugged places a plain. And the glory of the LORD will be revealed, and all people will see it together” (Isa 40:3-5; Luke 3:4-6 NIV). He prepared the way for the LORD, our bridegroom.
Christ Jesus is the bridegroom, and we are His bride. Jesus performed His first miracle at a wedding feast. He stepped into the place of the bridegroom and took the responsibilities for providing the wine when it had run out. “On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, ‘They have no more wine.’ ‘Woman, why do you involve me?’ Jesus replied. ‘My hour has not yet come.’ His mother said to the servants, ‘Do whatever he tells you.’ Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons. Jesus said to the servants, ‘Fill the jars with water’; so they filled them to the brim. Then he told them, ‘Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet.’ They did so, and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. Then he called the bridegroom aside and said, ‘Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.’ What Jesus did here in Cana of Galilee was the first of the signs through which he revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him” (John 2:1-11 NIV). Jesus’ hour had not yet come, but His miracle revealed His identity as our Messiah, our Bridegroom. He not only turned the 120-180 gallons of water into the finest wine, but He used the stone jar dedicated for ceremonial washing. Consider, the “great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb… These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb” (Rev 7:9-14 NIV). Also, “just before the Passover Festival. Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father” (John 13:1 NIV). “In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you’” (Luke 22:20; cf. Jer 31:31-34 NIV). Moreover, notice that the master of the banquet called the bridegroom aside because he thought that he had saved the best wine to be served last. And let us rejoice knowing that one day we will be at the wedding feast of the Lamb. “Then I heard what sounded like a great multitude…‘Hallelujah! For our Lord God Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready…Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!’ And he added, ‘These are the true words of God…Worship God! For it is the Spirit of prophecy who bears testimony to Jesus’” (Rev 19:5-10 NIV). His banner over me is love” (Song 2:4 NASB).
Christ Jesus is the bridegroom, and we are His bride. “Then I saw ‘a new heaven and a new earth…I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.’ He who was seated on the throne said, ‘I am making everything new!’…One of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues came and said to me, “Come, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.” And he carried me away in the Spirit to a mountain great and high, and showed me the Holy City, Jerusalem…Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life…The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him…And they will reign for ever and ever.” (Rev 21:1-22:5 NIV). “My beloved is mine and I am his” (Song 2:16 NIV). His banner over me is love” (Song 2:4 NASB). “Your Maker is your husband—the LORD Almighty is his name—the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer; he is called the God of all the earth” (Isa 54:5 NIV). In Christ!! To God be the glory!! Amen.