John 3:27-29 "John answered and said, “A man can receive nothing unless it has been given him from heaven. 28 You yourselves are my witnesses that I said, ‘I am not the Christ,’ but, ‘I have been sent ahead of Him.’ 29 He who has the bride is the bridegroom; but the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice. So this joy of mine has been made full."
"In Jesus’ growing influence, John found his own joy fulfilled. He illustrated this for his disciples by referring to a custom at Near Eastern weddings. The friend of the bridegroom was only an assistant, not the main participant in the marriage. The assistant acted on behalf of the bridegroom and made the preliminary arrangements for the ceremony. His joy came when he heard the bridegroom coming for his bride. John the Baptist’s work was to prepare for the arrival of Christ, the “Groom.” John baptized only with water, not with the Spirit. Therefore Jesus must become greater and John must become less. This was not merely advisable or fortuitous; it was the divine order. John willingly and with joy accepted Jesus’ growing popularity as God’s plan."
The Biblical theme of the Divine Wedding as used by God to portray His redemptive purposes in the Bible will be the focus of today's post. In a more specific way, we want to see how this overall theme applies specifically to understanding the identity of Jesus Christ in John 3:22-36.
1. The Old Testament's use of the "bridegroom theme"
Books of the Old Testament like the Book of Ruth tie in the marital language of the Old Testament with the concept of a "Kinsman Redeemer" who takes on a bride that has no way of redeeming herself. As the Old Testament unfolds this "marital" language describing God and His people (see Psalm 45 and Song of Solomon); the reader is faced with the abrupt theme of divorce representing the breach of covenant by the people to God (see Isaiah 50:1; Jeremiah 3:8; Hosea 2:2). The sad treachery of Israel is thankfully not the final word. Glimpses of promises of restoration sit on the horizons of the prophets. Through prophetic predictions of a new Covenant and coming Messiah (Ezekiel 36:25-26; Jeremiah 31:31-34; Joel 2:28-31), Yahweh revealed His plan to restore unto Himself His people (see again Hosea 2:20-23). What all this means is that God's Sovereign purposes to restore His people was not going to fail. The Old Testament tells us what Yahweh intended to do, and yet it does not reveal how.
3. The Tragedy and Triumph of the Bridegroom in redeeming His people
As the reader journeys throughout the Gospels, we see the following thoughts developed regarding the presentation of the Son as the Groom for His people:
4. The surprising climax of the Bridegroom redeeming His people