The motif of the faithful bridegroom is one of the most powerful and intimate illustrations of Christ’s love for His people. It is an image we see repeated, not only throughout Scripture, but also in literature and storytelling: the king’s son, the faithful bridegroom, searches for his bride, often finding her in captivity or distress, from which he rescues her by putting his own life on the line. When he has won her, he brings her to his kingdom, where she adorns herself to join him there, to live happily ever after.
In each case, though politically incorrect, the bride is helpless. But of course this is the truth, because these stories of bridegrooms and their brides are about more than just a happy couple. Paul reinforces this truth in Ephesians 5:32, speaking of the mystery of marriage: “This mystery is profound, but I am talking about Christ and the church.” The true story is about Christ.
Christ is the faithful bridegroom, but as Hosea reminds us, He comes to a bride who is helpless and ensnared in a false kingdom, a bride who has not forsaken all others and kept herself only for Him. We, the bride, are bound in captivity and distress to the kingdom of sin and death, until Christ our bridegroom comes. The Advent season is not only about Christ’s coming as a baby to Bethlehem; it’s also about His coming into every part of our lives. In this weary world, we need the bridegroom to pursue us, to woo us in the wilderness, to teach our hearts to return to Him, as in the days of our youth, to restore us to fruitfulness, hope and joy, to remove from our lips and from our affections the idolatries of this world. We need Him to make us His in righteousness.
He is the one who teaches us to know Him, who shatters our enmity with Him and makes us His own people. Because of Him, we can say, “You are our God!”
Jesus came not to bring what our sins deserve, but instead to pay the price for our redemption, so that when He comes again, we will be able to say, “Let us be glad, rejoice, and give him glory, because the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his bride has prepared herself” (Revelation 19:7). In this season of Advent, let us indeed be glad and rejoice, and prepare ourselves to receive Him. O faithful bridegroom, come!
Written by Caleb Faires