Last week I attended 2 Passovers. One was an Orthodox Jewish ceremony led by an Orthodox Jewish rabbi; the other one was with my Christian bible study group and was led by a Messianic Jew. The contrasts were thought provoking. The translations on the significance of the Passover very distinct.
One aspect of the Christian ceremony referred to something I had learned many years ago when I attended a church service. It was the marriage proposal Jesus offered to his disciples. Are you aware he did this?
In Jewish culture as in others, marriage proposals are done in a formal way. For Jews in the time of Jesus, many steps were taken prior to the official proposal. For brevity here, the man “popped the question” at a prepared table and communicated his offer to his chosen bride through a cup of wine.
The cup offering was paired with words from the bridegroom. Jesus used those same words with his disciples at the final Passover. Hear Jesus’ proposal,
“This cup is a new covenant in my blood, which I offer to you.” - Luke 22:20, Matthew 26:28
Is his offer of marriage shocking to you? If so, hopefully in a way that opens your heart bigger and wider to his love.
Our God is a romantic! His are not empty words from a slick con-artist. He is the knight in shining armor who backs up his offer with great bravery, a fierce and intentional payment procured through the shedding of his own blood poured out on the cross of suffering. He is the passionate lover willing to pay the highest price for all who accept his holy offer of eternal love and salvation!
Ray Vander Laan is a well known bible teacher who has a Christian ministry platform that focuses on revealing Jewish culture for greater scripture revelation. He helps Westerners see some of the Eastern contextual nuances completely unfamiliar to our times and modern culture. Here is what he says about the communion Christians observe-
…”every single time you sit in your fellowship or
your community in your Church, and your Elder,
your Pastor, or whoever leads the Service, turns to
you and offers you the cup, Jesus, in the language
of the culture says to you, ‘I love you’, and the
only way I can describe the depths and the passion
of that love is to say, ‘Will you be my wife?’” – Ray Vander Laan
Without a holy filter and knowledge of the undefiled marriage bed Christ offers, our human minds may be disturbed about God’s marriage proposal. But in the light of holy interpretation; and as God truly defines it within the Kingdom of Heaven, the proposal is a supernatural invitation to be with Him in Heaven. It is the supernatural marriage and family offer beyond this world. What other god offers marriage? And with such great eternal inheritance full of promise and eternal joy? None! He is God and there is no other, He is God there is none like him!
In ancient Jewish culture, after the bride accepted the proposal, the man would leave his bride for a time. He would then go to prepare a place for his new bride to live. As she would be entering a new family, new living quarters were to be prepared for the husband and wife to live. His leaving to build a home was also symbolic of her being welcomed into the Father’s house. It was symbolic that this new place was made possible only by the bridegroom’s labor and preparation. Now she was adopted by the Father as one of his own children! (Note- If you would like to read more about the ancient marriage proposal ceremony, download the article at the end of the blog.)
This is seen when Jesus says to his followers-
John 14:1-4 Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe in Me as well. In My Father’s house are many rooms. If it 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 welcome you into My presence, so that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.”
The groom is coming back for his bride of believers! He is taking his bride to be with Him forever, to be with him in His Father’s house!
Where else did Jesus hint at a marriage proposal? If we consider Jesus’ first miracle through the context of Jewish weddings, we will see it. What was it? What did he do? What was the sign Christ gave but didn't publically explain? Who are the only ones who were aware of the miracle? I won’t give the answers, except the last one. The only ones who were privy to the miracle were the servants who obeyed the simple instructions of Jesus, plus Jesus’ mother, and also Jesus’ disciples. See the book of John, chapter 2 verses 1 to 11.
It is still the same today. The ones behind the scenes with Jesus are the ones privy to the miraculous work and offer of Christ for eternal salvation. And as those who have his revelation, we are told to invite others to the marriage ceremony.
In the parable of the Wedding Banquet, Jesus intimated that his servants are to go to the streets and invite all who will come (Matthew 22:1-14).
In this parable, he also shared a couple of very serious warnings. The warning that most catches my attention is the reference to the man who did not have on a wedding garment. He is approached by the king and asked how he got in without wedding clothes. The man is speechless and is thrown out into eternal darkness. Yikes.
Are God’s servants clear on how to deliver the wedding invitation? Are we offering any other way except Christ? How many people think they are “in” when they die? Recently I have met several Jews, a couple of Jehovah’s witnesses, and 2 college students from India who believe when they die, they are “in”. But as of right now, they do not have wedding clothes on. They would be approached by the Father and removed from the wedding celebration of the Son.
As you ponder the truths of God’s marriage proposal in prayer, ask God to bring greater revelation of his divine offer to you, his priceless payment for your soul. Ask him to show you your wedding garment. Ask Him to bring to mind an area that needs spot cleaning. Let him cleanse you, He washes us clean with His word and our heartfelt confession! So beautiful!
Ask God to help you tell people about the marriage invitation. It is a heart moving way to share the Good News of forever love with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Matthew 22:30- At the resurrection people will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven.
Ephesians 5:25-33- Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— for we are members of his body. “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.
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Into the Waters Ministry is a 501(C)3 public charity. Our mission is to inspire you to linger longer with God, to draw near and know Christ. For those willing, it is a place of supernatural hope and healing. I know this first hand. My name is Gina; and I'm the founder of the ministry. My 20+ journey with God has been centered on immersing myself in the safe relationship God offers, learning about the power of surrender, and receiving His life in greater measure! I've experienced radical healing in mind, body, and spirit and believe God for more! I long for others to position themselves for the same! Into the Waters' resources help you spend quality time with God to enter His rest and receive His divine provision. Let us help you experience more of God! Read the blogs, try the exercises, participate in online sessions! His promises for life and wholeness are offered to all! But you have to say "Yes!"