My last name is Peterson. That’s a Norwegian name. But with dark hair, dark eyes and olive skin, I don’t look Norwegian. Because the only part of me that is Norwegian is my name. I got that by marrying my blond, blue-eyed Norwegian-blooded husband.
Esther was born with a Jewish name: Hadassah. When she married the King of Persia, she got a new name—the Persian name, Esther. She also got a royal crown, a royal robe and a royal life. She was not born into royalty but she married into it—when the King made her his bride.
Now the king was attracted to Esther more than to any of the other women, and she won his favor and approval more than any of the other virgins. So he set a royal crown on her head and made her queen instead of Vashti (Esther 2:17).
We gain a lot of things through marriage. Like Esther, one thing we women gain is a new name. As a member of Christ’s church, we become Christ’s bride.
“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. Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear.” (Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of God’s holy people.) (Revelation 19:7-8).
Paul further explained this to the people in Corinth, saying,
I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy. I promised you to one husband, to Christ, so that I might present you as a pure virgin to him (2 Corinthians 11:2).
When we receive Jesus, we marry into the family of Christ. The church, theologically, becomes the bride of the Lamb (Jesus). As His bride, we even take His name: Christ-ian. Cool how that works, isn’t it?
This idea of the church as the bride of Christ is one of those pesky theologies that may (or may not) finally make sense when we’re sitting at Jesus’ feet up in heaven. I don’t spend much time wondering how Christian men feel about being part of the community of faith that Jesus calls his “bride.” But as for us women—what’s not to love about the idea of being loved so much that we are joined forever with the One who loves us most?
The book of Ruth is universally acknowledged as a foretelling the coming of Jesus. Ruth (a Gentile) married into the literal, biological family of Jesus when her husband Boaz became her redeemer, just as Jesus became the redeemer for all of us through His sacrifice. The Book of Hosea similarly foretells the coming of Jesus as savior when God directed Hosea to marry an adulterous wife, symbolizing God’s relationship to Israel, saying
I will betroth you to me forever; I will betroth you in righteousness and justice, in love and compassion. I will betroth you in faithfulness, and you will acknowledge the LORD(Hosea 2:19-20).
In ancient Jewish marriage, the two people who were betrothed were then kept apart from each other for a time, generally a year or longer. During that time, they would each prepare for marriage. The woman would gather her household items. The groom would leave and return to his father’s home to build a house for himself and his bride. Then the groom would return to his bride and take her with him to live in the house he built for them. Listen to what Jesus told His disciples before He returned to Heaven.
My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am (John 14: 1-3).
Jesus, our bridegroom promised Himself to us. Then He left us for a time, returning to His Father’s house to prepare a place for us. During our time away, we are to remain faithful to Him and to do our part in preparing for our future as the Bride of Christ.
Coincidentally, Scripture reinforces many of our modern-world traditions with the doctrine of Christ’s bride. When we turn to Jesus, we are washed white as snow and when we go to heaven we get to wear white robes—gloriously beautiful; better than the most beautiful wedding gown found on Earth. It gives whole new meaning to the popular television show, Say Yes to the Dress.
A heavenly banquet will occur at our heavenly wedding too. There everyone can have their fill from the Tree of Life—better than the most luscious wedding cake ever baked on Earth. Jesus will turn the living water into the most full-bodied champagne you’ve ever sipped. And,oh, the music! Can you imagine that first dance we’ll have with our King as He sweeps us onto the dance floor and into His arms? Now that’s a happily forever and ever after!
We saw yesterday that when we become a Christian, God adopts us into His family and we become nobility as a child of the King. As a member of Christ’s church, we gain nobility a second way—through marriage as the bride of Christ. This is no arranged marriage. Jesus offered to share eternal life with us. Of our own free will and delight we enter the marriage with joy and excitement.
As a result, our nobility is assured on two counts. Not only are we adopted into God’s family, but our noble status is confirmed a second way on the day of Christ through marriage, as the bride of the King. Not many of us were born noble by society’s standards. But as Christians, we are the Bride of the King.
If Esther were here, she would say this was her story. She became the bride of the King.
Who are we to God? When we realize that, as part of Christ’s Church, we are the beloved bride of the King, we understand how He might see His women of faith. We can answer:
I am (like) Esther.
For Thought and Discussion
- Do you have a married name that does not reflect your genetic heritage?
- If you are not married, how does the knowledge that you are the bride of Christ make you feel?
- If you had trouble yesterday understanding that you are noble because God adopted you into His family, how does conferring royalty through marriage encourage you?
PRAYER: Heavenly Father, thank you for loving us so much that you call us your bride. Thank you for loving us so much that you have assured our nobility in two ways. Help us remember our standing in your eyes and help us live up to the reputation you have given us as part of your royal family. Amen.
Carol Peterson, Author, is a member of the Ruby Blogger Team and a regular contributor to the Ruby for Women as a book reviewer. You can connect with Carol on her blog, http://www.carolpetersonauthor.com