Another great article by Pastor Philip Hoppe found over on IHoppe.com.
Let me tell you the story you of the best husband that ever lived. This man had his eyes set on one particular women as his future wife from the very moment he saw her. Even though many would not have deemed her a particularly beautiful sight for the eyes to behold, this man found her stunningly beautiful. If you heard him talk about her, you could hardly help but fall in love with the woman he described. His heart was set on having her as his own and so he left behind the confines of the comfortable life he had grown to be accustomed to and moved to the less than noteworthy place she called home. To say that she played hard to get would be an understatement. Yet, this would not stop at anything. He endured hardship. He dealt with the constant rejection of this woman which he loved. Those watching said he laid down his very life to gain her for his wife. He gave up everything in order to have her. He loved her with a love that remains legendary.
And eventually his love won the day. And so, on one beautiful day, he asked her to be his wife. He did so right by a river flowing steady with life-giving water. This man, unlike others before him, did not take the fact that she said yes as an opportunity to lay off the attempts to show forth his love. Instead he nurtured her with loving care. He wined and dined her. And he prepared for the wedding feast that was soon to come.
When that day came, his beloved came forth in a dress so white the light reflecting off it was nearly blinding. Some in the crowd murmured that she not be wearing white since they knew of her past. But the husband silenced all such talk. He told them that he had purchased that dress for her to wear and it was just perfect for her. They were married and then the feast ensued. The spread at the feast was unlike anything anyone else had every seen. The word was out that the father of the husband had paid for everything that was found there.
Once married, the couple lived in grand love, led by the selfless and endless love of the husband. The wife in response his great love was overflowing with love as well. She was a constant help to her husband in every way. She was integral to completing so many of the things her husband had planned. She showed him the utmost respect and rejoiced to follow in the lead of her magnificent groom.
This is a love story worth retelling for this is the love story of Christ and his bride, the Church. It is the story of how Christ gave up everything to present his wife spotless on that great and final wedding day. It is the story of his great care and love for her and her humble yet loyal response to his love.
And it is the love story that each and ever Christian marriage is meant to retell day by day. Each marriage is to tell this story daily in word and deed.
The husband is to show forth the love of Christ daily towards his wife. This means sacrificing his desires and wants in order that her needs might be taken care. It means leading spiritually in the home in order that by Christ’s holy word the two together might dwell together in the righteousness of God found only in Christ.
And the wife is to show forth the grateful submission of the church in their marriage daily. She is to rejoice constantly in the love of your husband. She is to be of help to him in every way. She is to show him respect and follow his lead.
And as they each live out the roles that God has given to them, together they will with God’s great help see many blessings. They will see how blessed it is to live together with his constant love. They will have many opportunity be a blessing to those God places around them throughout their life together. And God willing, they will be given children to raise up in the knowledge of the Lord.
Of course, the husband is not Christ. And this means that he will not always unleash the unconditional grace-filled love that he ought to show forth. And the wife is not the Church reacting in perfect love and submission to Christ. And this means that she will some days find her place as much burden as a joy. She will desire to lead rather than follow.
And these kinds of sin of husbands against wives and wives against husbands are the very things that bring trouble into marriages and sometimes end them. But thanks be to God they need not have such power in Christian marriage. Those baptized into Christ have an endless source of forgiveness and love for just such times.
His love is legendary. He laid down his life and picked it up again in order than when trouble comes in marriage, Jesus is right there willing to forgive those sins against him and one another. So they need not fear not the sin that will come. Jesus’ love is more fierce than any sin that will come.
Christian spouses are free to go forth in the confidence of faith that they are free to live out the roles of Christ and Church God has given to each of them. They are free to go out knowing that Christ will not forsake them even when they fail to live within them.
Christ’s love is legendary. Greater love no one has than this than that he would lay down his life for his beloved. That is what he has done for his bride, the Church. And the same love which he displayed on the cross is the love he gives to each Christian couple to share together as husband and wife. There is no better love than that and there is no better news than that he promises this love to each couple their whole marriage long. Thanks be to Jesus for his legendary love.