Intimacy with Jesus

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Have you ever noticed how closely a marriage parallels our relationship with Lord? In fact, it’s kind of glaringly obvious. It’s almost as if someone planned it that way… and I'm not just talking about the Ephesians 5 stuff either (vv 22-33). Everything in marriage speaks volumes about Christ and His love for us, even in the wedding, what the Bride and Groom wear, to gift-giving, to inviting close friends (you thought you escaped the cheese, didn’t you).

     It’s all about Jesus. The black that the groom wears represents the death of Christ and the bride’s white dress alludes to Christ making us spotless, free from sin, and holy. The ceremony even takes place at an altar– now if you didn’t study up on ancient animal sacrifices before reading this blog, I’ll fill you in. In Leviticus 17:11, God tells the Israelites that “It is blood that makes atonement for life,” so once a year the nation of Israel had to make a blood sacrifice of two young goats without any deformities. The High Priest would take one goat and take it into the temple or tabernacle (tabernacle is just a mobile temple, pretty convenient right?) and sacrifice it before God to atone for the sins of Israel, then the priest would lay his hands on the head of the other young goat, say a prayer and then let it run off into the wilderness. The people of Israel would hiss and jeer at the goat until he ran away (poor guy, and he even got the good job…). This act symbolized the transference of the sins of Israel to the goat and how God would send away their sins and remember them no more. So when we hear the word altar we ought to think of it as the place where some one suffers in the interests of someone else. Woah, that’s kind of like marriage, which is kind of like Jesus!
     I'm almost beginning to think that Jesus was a fan of marriage.
     In the Jewish tradition when a man wanted to marry a woman there was a systematic pursuit he would follow. First, he would go talk to the woman’s father and they would discuss the dowry (a large sum of money for the bride in the case her husband died so she could provide for herself– husband insurance). Then the pursuing man would court his bride to be. After he proposed to her, the groom would give the bride wedding gifts and begin construction on his father's house, preparing an add-on for him and his bride to eventually live in. However long it took to prepare that add-on is how long the engagement period was.
     It’s all about… yep, you guessed right: Jesus.
“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also."
(John 14:1-3)
     If you ever wondered how we got stuck on earth while Jesus was in heaven, there you go. Speaking of which, Jesus didn’t just abandon us. He left us some pretty neat (wedding) gifts, the foremost being the Holy Spirit who gives and portions gifts to the bride. While wedding gifts are pretty awesome that’s never the focus of the couple. The focus, the aim of love, is always on the spouse. It’s all about Jesus.
but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away.”
(1st Cor 13:10)
     When Jesus comes back... healing, prophecy and words of knowledge are the last thing anyones going to be thinking about.
     Still remember the questions we asked in the beginning? You’re probably thinking “ya, and why did you ask me to think of all that stuff ?” Any metaphor we come up with to understand Jesus breaks down at a certain point. For our culture, marriage is just another “thing". It’s become cheap, empty and easily reversed. So when we think of the one example we have left to understand Jesus and it’s our cultural marriage… we simply shame our Christ. It’s another example of the partial pointing to the perfect. Yet we believe marriage is Jesus’ heart for us and our hope. So before we end this we need to address a few things because our version of marriage falls short of Christ’s (here comes the practical stuff).
When you thought about married couples and weddings in the beginning, was there a part of you that felt sad? Was it because of unfaithfulness or divorce?
When you think of Christ’s love for you, do you feel heavy because of your unfaithfulness to Him or fear that He will divorce you because of your shortcomings?
This is where we rejoice that our metaphors and examples fall short of Christ. HE WILL NEVER LEAVE US! Jesus tells His disciples that it is God’s will “that I should not lose even one of all those He has given me, but that I should raise them up at the last day” (John 6:39) and again Paul tells us "No power in the sky above or in the earth below--indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord”. That’s awesome. Even when we are unfaithful Christ is still faithful to us. God even tells us in Malachi that He hates divorce(2:16). Gnarly.
So, as we wrap up, we ought to ask ourselves: how have we been short changing ourselves on receiving Christ’s love because of our faulty understanding of His heart? 
What other things in life point to Christ’s love for us?(marriage isn’t the only one)
How has culture's faulty understanding of marriage affected our perspective on God’s gift to us? 
Lastly, If Jesus left to prepare a place for us and He’s been gone 2000+ years does that mean it’s going to be a really big and awesome place? The answer is yes.