The Wonder of His NameBridegroom
Leslie Basham: Nancy Leigh DeMoss asks, are you leaning on Christ for everything?
Nancy Leigh DeMoss: The heart of all sin is believing that something or someone will satisfy me in a way that Christ doesn’t.
Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Wednesday, April 10.
Nancy’s been in the series “The Wonder of His Name.” Today she’ll help us better understand the name “Bridegroom.”
Nancy Leigh DeMoss: I saw a video the other day of the wedding of the son of long-time friends of mine. I’ve known their son, Christopher, since he was, actually since he was born. And he got married a few weeks ago and somebody was kind enough to post some video clips of the wedding on YouTube.
It was so fun watching this because this couple, Christopher and Sarah, had never kissed until the end of that wedding ceremony. Their dad had told them, had told Christopher when he was sixteen, I think it was, “If you decide not to kiss your bride until your wedding day, I will pay for your honeymoon.” And the dad pulled out a check for the honeymoon at that wedding.
So we saw the first kiss of Christopher and Sarah. And I want to tell you, some kiss it was! I mean, he milked that kiss for all it was worth. He held on to that girl. You could tell he had been waiting for this moment. It was an exciting, a little embarrassing, but so thrilling to see this couple united in marriage.
Don’t you love weddings? As I watched Christopher and Sarah’s wedding, I thought, God has used and intended that marriage should be a picture of some eternal heavenly realities. And we want to look at that whole concept of marriage, today, as we look at another name of Jesus.
Now, I want to start back in the first book of the Bible in Genesis 2. On the sixth day of creation, there is a wedding. We have the first groom and the first bride, and they become “one flesh.” We see that God established the human institution of marriage.
God intended marriage to be a picture of a story—a story that God wanted to tell for all the universe, for all of history. He wanted to tell a story. And so, I want us today to look at several different angles of this story of marriage.
Throughout the Old Testament, we see that human marriage tells a story about God—about His steadfast, covenant-keeping love, about His faithfulness toward His people. Jehovah is seen through the Old Testament as the Bridegroom of His people. We read, for example, in Isaiah 62, “As the bridegroom rejoices over the bride . . .” Just as Christopher rejoiced over Sarah, “As the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall your God rejoice over you.”
God’s heart toward His people is seen when He is pictured as a bridegroom. His heart is not rejection; it’s not coolness or distance. And God’s relationship with His people is not first and foremost an intellectual relationship. It’s a joyous, passionate, fervent, intense love that God has for His people. He rejoices over His Bride.
As we see that love unfolded through the Scripture, we also realize that God’s love for His people is not some kind of sappy, sentimental, self-serving Hollywood-type of love, but it’s a sacrificial love, a serving love, a transforming, redeeming love.
In fact, you see those thoughts come together in Isaiah 54 where the Scripture says,
For your Maker is your husband, the Lord of hosts is his name; and the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer, the God of the whole earth he is called (v. 5).
Your husband, your redeemer. God’s love for His people as their Bridegroom is a redeeming love, a rescuing love, a transforming love.
And so human earthly marriage tells story about God’s love for His people. It also tells the story about God’s plan to redeem His people by uniting them in marriage with His Son, the Bridegroom. A story of God’s plan to redeem His people by uniting them in marriage with His Son.
So when you see a wedding and you see a young man and woman being united in marriage, remember, God is wanting to use that marriage to tell a story—a story about God’s love for His people and a story about God’s great redemptive plan to unite us in marriage with His Son.
Before Adam and Eve ever sinned, this is amazing if you stop and think about it. God planned for their redemption. He planned to deliver and rescue them from the consequences of their sin before they ever sinned. And what did He choose to picture that plan? He planned a marriage, a marriage to tell that story. That marriage of Adam and Eve told the story about an ultimate marriage in which God’s own Son would be the Bridegroom.
So you see marriage here on earth is not just about romance. It is about that, but it’s about the romance of redemption—the great story of God’s redeeming love. So as we come to the New Testament, we see Jesus identified as the Bridegroom. And that’s the name that we want to look at today, "The Wonder of His Name." He is our heavenly Bridegroom.
Now the New Testament, beginning in the gospels, depicts believers in various relationships to Jesus as the Bridegroom. We see believers pictured as wedding attendants, as wedding guests, and when we come to the Epistles as the bride. So let’s look at some of those passages and unpack this story about Jesus as the Bridegroom.
When we come to John 3, John the Baptist says,
You yourselves bear me witness, that I said, "I am not the Christ, but I have been sent before him." The one who has the bride is the bridegroom.
He’s talking about Jesus who is coming to this earth.
The friend of the bridegroom [that’s a wedding attendant], who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom's voice. Therefore this joy of mine is now complete.
Why? Because the Bridegroom has come to earth. The wedding attendant is nothing. He just stands there. He listens to the voice of the bridegroom. And John says,
My joy is now complete because the bridegroom is here. He must increase, but I must decrease (vv. 28–30).
So here’s John who’s been sent to announce the coming of Christ, to prepare the way for Him. And what an honor to have been chosen for that role, to be a friend of the bridegroom. But John the Baptist says, “It’s not about me—I’m just an attendant. It’s about the Bridegroom. My joy, my job is to be at His side, and listen to Him speak.”
He’s saying, “I don’t want people to focus on me. I don’t want people to remember me. I want them to focus on Him. I want them to celebrate the Bridegroom. That’s what gives me the greatest joy.” That’s what John is saying in John 3.
So joy comes from listening for the Bridegroom’s voice, from devoting our lives to pointing others to Him. If you’ve listened to Revive Our Hearts for any length of time, you’ve probably heard me say that I feel like my life mission is to be a wedding coordinator, to help prepare the Bride for the wedding, to help the Bride get ready to meet the Bridegroom. That should be the job we all have and what we love doing, devoting our lives to pointing others to Him. We are secondary. We are not the star of this show. In fact, it’s not our show at all. He must increase. The Bridegroom must increase and we must decrease.
Now Jesus refers to Himself as the Bridegroom in Matthew 9 when He says, “Can the wedding guests mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast” (v 15).
Jesus is depicting Himself here as the Bridegroom. He was here in person during His days on earth, and He said that was a time to celebrate and rejoice because “I am with you.” But then He was taken away to heaven, He ascended to heaven, the Bridegroom has gone away for a while. And now is the time for us to fast, to mourn, to grieve His absence, to long for His return.
But one day we know He will be restored to us in the flesh, and then we will have one unending, unmitigated, undarkened celebration for all of eternity, a cloudless sky. But until then we miss Him, right? We long for Him. We see Him by faith. We love Him by faith, but we can’t see Him. We can’t hear His voice literally. We long for that. We long to be with Him. We long to be in the presence of our Bridegroom.
And by the way, when we talk about seasons of revival, what we’re talking about is the restoration of His presence to be sensed and real among His people. In the unrevived state of the Church, we miss Him, we grieve His absence, we long for the Bridegroom to come and be more felt and known and real in our midst. But when His presence is restored in revival, when our first love for our Bridegroom has been rekindled, then sadness, the unrevived state of the Church, is turned to rejoicing and celebration.
So we see that followers of Christ sometimes serve as a wedding attendant, a friend of the Bridegroom. Sometimes they serve as the wedding guests who long to see the Bridegroom. But then we get to the Epistles, and we discover the identity of the Bride of Christ. Who’s the Bride? Not just Jews, but it’s Jews and Gentiles who together who make up the Church of Jesus Christ.
We read about this, for example, in Ephesians 5:
Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. This mystery is profound.
What’s a mystery? Marriage is a mystery. You’re saying, “I knew that.” It’s a mystery in more ways than one. It’s a cosmic mystery. This mystery is profound . . .
And I am saying that it [what is it? marriage] refers to Christ and the church. However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband (vv. 31–33).
You see how earthly marriage—how you relate to your husband, how your husband relates to you—is intended to picture the relationship that our heavenly Bridegroom Jesus Christ has with His Bride, the Church. Husband and wife are to be one flesh. And we read that Christ loves His Bride and that the Bride respects and reverences her Bridegroom who is Christ.
So the way that you respect and reverence your husband speaks to the world of what it’s like to respect and reverence Jesus Christ. Now we all know that your husband is not Jesus. And that’s why marriage takes faith. It takes surrender, right, to Christ’s purposes. But you see that there’s something bigger than the challenges and difficulties in your marriage. It’s a story you’re wanting to tell about the wonder of our perfect Bridegroom who never fails, who is unflawed, who is unfailing.
“Christ [the Bridegroom] is the head of the church [which is His Bride, and it is], his body, and [He] is himself its Savior” (Eph. 5:23). By the way, that’s a tall order for husbands, but I don’t see any husbands in the room. So we won’t talk to them today. But wow, what a calling for husbands to love their wives in that sacrificial, serving, saving way. They can’t save your soul, but they can picture the love of Christ that redeems and saves His people.
Marriage was ordained to be a picture of Christ’s relationship with His Church. And of course that human picture is imperfect. But our marriages here on earth are intended to be patterned after the ideal marriage. And just think of some of those ways that Christ functions as a Bridegroom.
As a bridegroom seeks a wife and selects a wife and initiates the relationship and woos the bride, so Christ has done that for us. The bridegroom rejoices when his chosen one accepts his proposal of marriage and Christ rejoices when we say, “Yes. I will. I do” to Him as our Bridegroom.
The bridegroom prepares a home, a place for them to live after they are married. Christ is preparing a home, a place to take us to live forever with Him. When they are united in marriage, they become one flesh and the groom pledges his love to his bride for a lifetime. He promises that he will not leave her. He will not divorce her. And Christ has said, “I will never leave you. I will never forsake you” (Heb. 13:5).
The groom gives the bride his name. Christ has given us His name. The groom assumes responsibility for his bride. He provides for her, he meets her needs in the way it’s intended to be. I know it’s not always the case, but he’s intended to protect her.
And let me just say here, I know we have a lot of brides in this room who your marriage hasn’t been anything like the ideal. Can I just remind you, you do have a heavenly Bridegroom who is the ideal husband? You may never have a husband here on earth, and we have single women here. You may never have a husband who loves and respects and honors you and leads and provides and protects. Some of your husbands maybe have done just the opposite of that. That’s why ultimately, you don’t pin your hopes on any man here on earth. You pin your hopes on Christ who is the perfect ideal Bridegroom.
The bridegroom delights in being with his bride. He shares his life with her—not just short term till someone better shows up, or till she lets him down or disappoints him—but for the long term. And so we see Christ’s love as the Bridegroom for His Bride.
The Bridegroom is jealous for his bride. He doesn’t want to compete with rivals. He wants an exclusive, faithful relationship. And that is exactly what Jesus wants with us.
In fact, we read in 2 Corinthians 11 the apostle Paul says to the Corinthians,
I feel a divine jealousy for you, since I betrothed you to one husband, to present you as a pure virgin to Christ. But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning [his trickery, his deception] so I’m afraid that your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ [your heavenly Bridegroom] (vv. 2–3).
So in this passage, Paul pictures the church as engaged to Jesus, the heavenly Bridegroom. And like a proud papa, like a father, Paul feels a responsibility to present his daughter as a pure bride on her wedding day. And so he says to these Corinthians who’ve followed after so many sins of the flesh and sins of the spirit, he wants them to have a pure, single-minded, wholehearted devotion to their heavenly Bridegroom.
I heard a story a couple of weeks ago about a college student, a young friend of mine. She’s single, and there are two young men who are both interested in her. They are both pursuing her. They are both very different. They both really want to have her. And she’s a little bit conflicted at the moment.
She’s trying to make up her mind, “Is this the one God’s wanting to put me with? Is this the one?" She’s feeling pulled? Now, it’s okay when you’re single to feel pulled in those directions. But when you get married, you better not feel pulled any more right? You better settle down to one.
And Paul is saying to the Corinthians, “Eve was deceived. She was led astray. I don’t want you to be deceived. I don’t want you to be led astray because when you’re pulled after these other gods, these other loves, these other attractions here on this earth, then you’ll be pulled away from your sincere, pure devotion to Christ. You’ll be two-timing Him. You’ll be committing spiritual adultery because He is your Bridegroom.
It’s so easy here on this earth while we’re waiting for our Bridegroom to return to forget about Him—to go on as if He didn’t exist, to live our lives as if He weren’t real, to keep living like we’re single women. We’re married women. Whether you have a ring on your finger or not, if you belong to Jesus, you’re a married woman. You have a Bridegroom.
And yet it’s so easy to be dissatisfied with what our heavenly Bridegroom provides for us, to feel pulled after other things as Eve was pulled after that forbidden fruit. It’s easy to be pulled after the promise of something better, thinking we need something more, we need something different than what Jesus provides for us.
It occurred to me as I was preparing this session. I think that we could say that at the heart of all sin is believing that something or someone will satisfy me in a way that Christ doesn’t. Don’t you think every sin probably comes into that category in some way? It’s believing that something or someone will satisfy me in a way that Jesus doesn’t—that He can’t or He won’t. So we diminish Him in our eyes, and we look at the things of this world as being so big and so necessary and so important.
Well, human marriage on this earth tells the story of how Christ came to this earth to find a Bride—how He is the Bridegroom of His church, the Bride. But human marriage on this earth also foreshadows and tells the story of the ultimate marriage to come at the end of time when Jesus’ glorious faithfulness and His steadfast love to His people are fully revealed.
You see, we’re living in a situation where we don’t have all that God has promised to us. We picture it, we anticipate it, we’ve been give the engagement ring, if you will, of the Holy Spirit who’s the promise, a guarantee, of things to come. But we don’t see it all now.
We look with eyes of faith and with anticipation to that ultimate marriage when we will see our heavenly Bridegroom. We’ll walk the aisle. We will be forever with the Lord. But for now, we’re living in that betrothal period. We’ve been betrothed to Christ. And what are we to be doing here on earth? Getting ready for the wedding, for the Bridegroom’s return.
Ladies, there’s a wedding coming, and we read about it in the book of Revelation. And what a bookend this is to the first book of the Bible where we see that first wedding. A man leaves his father and his mother. We have the bride and the bridegroom. They picture, they foreshadow, they anticipate Christ coming to this earth, giving His life to be the Bridegroom to purchase a Bride for Himself. But we also see the end of the story in the last book of the Bible.
I’m just finishing in my quiet time this week another reading through the New Testament. And I love these last parts of Revelation. Revelation 19 verse 7:
Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready.
Now, isn’t it interesting it doesn’t say “the marriage of the Bridegroom has come”? Because the Lamb is the Bridegroom! And the Bridegroom is the Lamb. The marriage of the Lamb has come. The Lamb has sacrificed His life for His Bride. He laid down His life that we might be His Bride. He is the Lamb that was slain from before the foundation of the earth.
God put this plan into motion before He ever created Adam and Eve. Before they ever sinned, God had a plan to redeem and restore you and to marry you to His Son, Jesus. And we look forward to the day when the marriage of the Lamb comes and the Bride has made herself ready.
How do we prepare for that wedding day? Our preparation is a response to His love and His initiative. For “it was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure—for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints” (v. 8). This fine linen, this wedding dress, this wedding garb we’re given, it’s a gift of His righteousness that results in us doing righteous deeds.
We’re not saved by those good works, but we do those good works because we’ve been saved, because we’ve been given His righteousness. “And the angel said to me, Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb'” (v. 9). And what a feast that will be for all of eternity!
Jesus came into this world to take a Bride. He betrothed Himself to her. He paid the bridal price—His own life blood. And one day, soon, Revelation tells us, He’s going to return to consummate that marriage to His Bride, to take us to the home that He’s been preparing where we will live with Him forever.
And so we’re in-between that betrothal and the consummation of the marriage. Our Bridegroom is actively preparing for the wedding. Are you? Are you ready? Are you awaiting Him? Are you living in expectation and anticipation? If you’ve ever been engaged to be married, you know what anticipation is like, right? 234 days and counting! Nineteen days, seventeen hours so many minutes. You know what anticipation is about.
That’s the kind of anticipation we should have as we wait for the return of our Bridegroom. And not just expectation and anticipation, but devotion, wholehearted, full-hearted, single-minded devotion to Jesus, our heavenly Bridegroom.
Leslie: Nancy Leigh DeMoss has been inviting you to fall in love with Jesus as your heavenly Bridegroom. Nancy will be right back.
That teaching is part of a series called “The Wonder of His Name: 32 Life-Changing Names of Jesus.” During this series, you have the opportunity to watch part of this teaching along with listening to it. Today’s teaching was recorded in Lynchburg, Virginia as part of the Revive Tour. You can watch it for yourself by visiting ReviveOurHearts.com.
Nancy isn’t just teaching on thirty-two names of Jesus, she’s also written about them. You can read about the names of Jesus at your own pace. Stop, think, pray, and then read some more. If you’ve enjoyed this series, I know you’ll appreciate the book as a way to remember what you’ve heard and think more deeply about Jesus.
When you donate any amount to Revive Our Hearts, we’ll show our thanks by sending the book, The Wonder of His Name. Ask for it when you call 1–800–569–5959. You can also visit