Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Waiting well: Waiting for the Bridegroom

A Jewish wedding in Jesus' time was not like our modern weddings. The marriage was arranged, and a period of betrothal followed. During this time, both the bride and groom prepared themselves for the marriage. The bride made her wedding garments and purified herself. The groom prepared a place for her in his father's house. He would build an addition (insula) onto the father's house where the two would live. 

Only the groom's father could decide when the addition was ready. When he gave the groom the happy news, he and his groomsmen would go for his bride. The marriage would be consummated and a week-long celebratory feast would follow. 

His servants would be on the alert, waiting for the groom (their master) to return with his bride. It was a time of great rejoicing. Because the bride would be coming to her new home for the first time, everyone present wanted the preparations to be complete to welcome her. The servants would be charged with staying ready.

In that same way, Our Lord Jesus has gone to His Father's house to prepare a place for us. Only our Heavenly Father can say when the preparations are complete, but when He does, Jesus will return for His bride. When he returns, there will be no delays. He will be ready, and we must be, too.

We are to be alert, waiting for our Lord, Jesus, with joyful expectation. Our waiting is to be as servants waiting for their master. There's no way to know when he will come, but we must be ready, preparations complete. We can be confident that, at the end of our waiting, there will be great rejoicing. 

All the preparation, all the waiting will be worth it when Jesus appears.

The amazing, inscrutable part of this is that we wait as servants but the bride for whom Jesus comes is the church. We're not just waiting for our Master. We're waiting for our bridegroom.

We aren't waiting for a destination (heaven). We're waiting for a person with whom we have a precious relationship. Jesus. 

He's coming again. Be ready.

"Be dressed in readiness, and keep your lamps lit. Be like men who are waiting for their master when he returns from the wedding feast, so that they may immediately open the door to him when he comes and knocks. Blessed are those slaves whom the master will find on the alert when he comes; truly I say to you, that he will gird himself to serve, and have them recline at the table, and will come up and wait on them. Whether he comes in the second watch, or even in the third, and finds them so, blessed are those slaves. But be sure of this, that if the head of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have allowed his house to be broken into. You, too, be ready; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour that you do not expect." (Luke 12: 35-40 NASB)

Our Father in Heaven, Thank you for the preparations being made for the bride of Christ. Thank you that Jesus will return for His own. Help me to prepare for His return and to stay ready for Him. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Our Waiting Well series began a with a post on serving faithfully. Yesterday, we looked at the issue of keeping our lamps lit