“The Kingdom of Heaven is like a certain king who arranged a marriage for his son, And sent out his servants to call those who were invited to the wedding; and they were not willing to come.” (Matt. 22:2-3)
(Step #1) To understand the heart of THE BRIDEGROOM.
(Step #2) To live as a REDEEMED BRIDE.
Jesus loves the Father and deliberately lays down His life for the Father’s will to be done (Lu. 22:42). And the Father’s will is to have a family that includes you. Also, Jesus longs to share His heavenly glory with you (John 17:22-24). This is not like sharing a meal together, nor is it as trivial as sharing a few million dollars. Instead, this is God the Father enjoying God the Son, enjoying you, equally enjoying each other forever—Revival is Family—a glorious Family. (Interesting side note: Did you know that Jesus loves you with the same intensity that He loves His Father? (John 15:9)
What does the Heavenly Family look like? Deep in the heart of the Father, He desires children (you as a child of God forever). But did you know that deep in the heart of Jesus, He passionately desires a Bride? In fact, the beloved Bride of Christ (put your name in here) is the great prize of all the ages, for which Jesus patiently awaits (Rev. 19:7). The affections of the human heart are one of the most precious possessions to God (Eph. 1:18). Why? Because of God’s tremendous love for you and your extravagant worth to Him. Jesus died to redeem you, and thus eagerly desires your affections—you move the heart of God. You were made for love; you were made to love God and be loved by Him (Matt. 22:37). The reason you were created and redeemed is to be loved and to love Jesus with all your heart. Satan attacks your heart so that you will NOT fully love God. He viciously desires for you to live as a slave instead of Jesus’ inheritance. Wisdom cries out, “Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life” (Prov. 4:23). Today, rise up, believe in your heart that you immensely matter to Jesus.
You are a son or daughter—a child of God—and you are the Bride of Christ. God’s ultimate eternal purpose for creation is to provide a family for Himself that includes faithful children for Himself (the Father) and an equally yoked Bride, the eternal companion for His Son (Jesus). The Holy Spirit’s job is to joyfully share God’s heart of Love with you while releasing measures of grace for you to walk fully obedient unto the Lord. Your job is to not just be the Bride, but also to be a Friend of the Bridegroom, just like John the Baptist (Jn. 3:29). John wholeheartedly loves God and prepared the way for Jesus to come by loving people out of their sinful lifestyle. You can do this by living like John: Holy and set apart unto God. I know what you’re thinking, “Seriously, I can’t live holy, and I don’t want to wear camel skin, eat locust and honey, while screaming in the desert, ‘REPENT!’” Hold on, just because you don’t think you can live holy doesn’t mean God can’t make you holy. Magnificent and holy is His nature. He is holy, and that is the invitation for your life (1 Peter 1:16). You are made for greatness; you are an ordinary person called to do extraordinary things (see note).
You may think, “I don’t feel so amazing. So why do you think I was made for greatness?” Because God heartily promised to give Jesus an inheritance consisting of a people whom He fully possesses in love. “I (the Father) will give You (Jesus) the nations for Your inheritance, and the ends of the earth for Your possession” (Ps. 2:8). Still not convinced? Let’s open up the Bible to Isaiah chapter 49 and peer into a conversation that happened a long time ago.
Imagine (and I say imagine because holy imagination is given to you by God) that you are a scribe in heaven (I am not sure how this would work, but just imagine for a brief moment). Ok, settle down and imagine that you are a scribe in Heaven, and it is your job to record the conversations that the Father has with the Son. So quickly grab your pen, spread out your holy parchment, and let’s get ready to write—the Father is about to speak!
“Son?” the Father says with the tender ponderings of the Most Ancient of Days. When Wisdom ponders, you know the truths about to be revealed are truly Heavenly. Continuing the divine dialogue, He playfully asks, “Do you want to know what is on My heart?”
Jesus, majestically seated at the right hand of the Father, turns, and with an expectant and excited smile, remembering all the wonder and creativity that has burst forth each time this question has been previously asked, enthusiastically replies, “Amaze Me.”
“As you know, I have created children—My sons and daughters—each one the very dreams of My heart,” the Father says, while proudly looking at you, while looking at me, while looking at all of humanity, still hidden in the very depth of His heart. This is where you were before you existed physically. You are the dream of the Father’s Heart. You are His inheritance. You are the joy of the Father, the one He wants to spend eternity with. Jesus, thinking upon these things, smiles with eager anticipation of the future. And then the divine Inventor of creativity stands and turns compassionately to His Son and prepares to speak.
Jesus notices a questioning dilemma arise upon the Father’s face. Agonizingly, the Father says, “But!” This word causes bright lightning to explode from the Father in a circular ball of energy, followed by deafening thunder pounding the air like a shockwave. “Sin, the devil’s twisted lies, will keep My children from Me. Sin will keep them from eternity with Me. Sin is robbing My family of true happiness.” Jesus hears the words come out of His Father’s mouth while hearing the stories within each word. It is your story and mine. What story? Imagine, for a moment, a book—not just any book, but a very special book penned by the Father. It is the story of your life, before you existed physically. Afterall, you are the dream within the heart of the Father. It is the book of your life, my life, your families’ lives, and the lives of your neighbors. Now imagine that God has written a wonderful story filled with His precious thoughts towards you and your response. These books are made of three volumes:
- Volume 1: “The Dream of the Father”
This is your life while you’re still hidden in the heart of the Father. He created you; He writes the story of your life and holds you as a dream within His heart; Jesus is introduced to you; Heaven is physically created; Earth will be physically created in 7 days.
- Volume 2: “This is your life”
After you’re fashioned in your mother’s womb, then you are born, and your life is unfolding day-by-day on Earth. This book records the conversations and intentions of the Father’s desire for you to succeed and walk holy. Then, if you stumble and fall, Jesus is there to redeem you, and the Holy Spirit is there to fill your repentant heart with cleansing Mercy while empowering you to walk forth in Grace.
- Volume 3: “The Age to Come”
In the Age to Come, you will be enjoyed by the most magnanimous loveable Father, tenderly loved by Jesus the Bridegroom King, and wisely counseled by the loving Holy Spirit while loving your neighbor as yourself—forever.
At this moment, Jesus, who is the the Living Word of God, watches sin trying to erase the story of your life, while the Father loudly laments as sin seeks to destroy the dream (your story) which is perfectly safe in His heart. Sin, an outside force, not greater than God, but evil and deceitful in nature. It is there to rob, steal, kill, and destroy. It is there to separate you from God forever. Imagine the pain of a mother that has just had her child stolen out of her hands. Imagine the terrifying cry of grief that would explode out of her mouth as she wails for her lost child. Then multiply that measure of grief by 1 billion and you can barely begin to imagine the pain that the Father feels in having been separated, having you stolen by the horrible, wretched, lying deceiver, satan. The Father weeps, for sin has stolen you from His heart. The way the Father loves the Son is the same way God loves you.
Jesus marvels at the Father’s immense love for you. (Side Note: Have you read the verse declaring the Father extravagant love? He loves you with the same love He has always had for Jesus (John 15:9)? Jesus sees that sin would keep you from Him, from His love. Jesus sees there is no one who would come to your rescue. Jesus sees a court case: you against your sin. He sees that you would lose, as everyone loses this court case. He sees that you would be separated from the Father and His love forever. Jesus sees that the debt of sin is more than any human being could ever hope to pay back. Jesus sees there is no intercessor for you. He sees that the Father loves You immensely. He sees the pain of you being stolen, like a child out of the hands of a mother, by sin. Jesus sees that you would be separated from the Father forever.
Jesus looks at His Father, still fondly looking at you. Keep in mind: at this point, you do not exist yet physically. You are still just a dream in the heart of the Father, but very much alive—for the Great Architect, the Beginning and the End, has already created you; Jesus knew you before you were perfectly fashioned in your mother’s womb. When sin comes…when violent sin comes to steal you away from the Father…when the dream of your eternal existence is being stolen away by a swindling thief and liar, aborted before you were born…at that moment, when the scales of justice seem to tip in favor of sinister, sinful satan, something happens that causes time to stand still, causing hope to arise, filling all Heaven with glory–!
Jesus, looking at the anguish of the Father as He was losing you, vows within His heart, “Yes”. But, yes to what? Jesus, the Great Intercessor, steps forth and professes, “Father, I desire that Your sons and daughters, whom You love, would come home, that they would be with You where You are, for you loved me before the foundations of the World, and You love humanity as You love Me” (John 17:24). When He says this, He is actually agreeing with the Father’s will, His plan from the beginning. The Lion would become the Lamb, laying down His God form to become a human (in comparison to you becoming a worm for the sake of saving worms). He says `yes` to vicious torture upon the cross that you might live. He says `yes` to standing in the gap for you. He chooses to pay the debt for your sin. Why? Because the Father first loved you (1 John 4:19). Jesus makes a way for you to love and be loved by the Father so that you, as a child of God, will feel the protective, providing, pastoral love of the Father forever. But this is not the only reason why Jesus steps forward to save you. There is another reason equally as compelling and deeply meaningful to Jesus: He is longing for a Bride.
Jesus, who is the Son of God and the Savior of all mankind, is also the Beloved Bridegroom (John 3:29), and you are called to be a Friend of the Bridegroom and prepare the Second Coming of the Lord. “Father,” Jesus affirms, “I will go. I will go and be the Implanted Seed, the Word of God, sown into fertile ground for the harvest, where You gather Your Sons and Daughters” (James 1:21). The Father reaches out His hand and places it upon the back of Jesus’ head. With a grateful smile and tender affection, He rejoices to say, “Go and love Your Bride, who will be taken by another. But within that will be a massive division. Redeem them, return, and wait for them to invite You to be their Savior, Bridegroom, King and Judge” (Matt. 23:39).
Jesus, in that moment, before earth existed physically, becomes manifest as the Bridegroom of all eternity. Not only is Jesus saving you from something, He is saving you for something. He is saving you to be loved by the Father and loved by the Bridegroom (in a non-sexual way). You, in all your weakness, in all your pain, both past and present, are loved by the Perfect Bridegroom, the One that left Heaven to come and get you. This is the greatest love story ever told. It is greater than any Hollywood story that has ever unfolded. The villain has stolen the girl, turned the girl against her lover, and he is seeking to destroy her and her offspring. However, the Hero (Jesus the Bridegroom) risks all for the sake of love to make the miraculous rescue. Jesus leaves Heaven to rescue you, the Bride of Christ, and He will gather you back again with Him in Heaven (you are worth so much more than you know). And you will be perfectly loved by Our Father and Perfectly loved by the Bridegroom—Jesus—forever.
“Father,” Jesus tenderly asks, “What does it mean that there will be a division in My Bride”?
“I have created both Jew and Gentile. Unfortunately, because of sin, they will be divided.” The Father shares a tale of two peoples, a story that is yet to unfold.
Jesus looks at The Father and asks, “Father, what is hidden in your heart?” Jesus had learned that the Father is the Great Storyteller of all the ages (there are many stories hidden in His heart yet to be told). So when the Father is telling a story, it is import to ask for more.
The Father, looking down, turning, and walking to His left, begins to share. He does not share because He has to. Instead He is sharing because He was asked. Walking and talking, He states, “You will leave Heaven as My Servant. You will go forth as a child in a mother’s womb. And then I will empower you to bring Jacob (this is Israel) back to heaven, to restore and preserve Israel.” Jesus lets that sink in for a moment by pondering the words, meditating within His heart, and then waiting for the right question to arise. And then it does.
“What will be the sign of this?” Jesus asks inquisitively. “What will be the sign of my coming?”
“I will put a star in the east that will shout to the gentile nations, and I will put a choir of angels that will sing to the shepherds of Israel,” the Father triumphantly declares. As Jesus ponders the very Words of Wisdom from His Father’s Master Plans, He comes to the next logical question.
“And the Gentiles ?”
The Father looks at His Son as all proud Fathers do, proud that His Son is hanging on every word and going deeper into the story, proud that He is asking about His Plan.
Joyfully, the Father proclaims, “Son, You are glorious! You are amazing! I love You so much. Therefore, it is too small of a thing to just bring Jacob back. I have other children that I want to come home (remember Revival is Family).” At this, an explosion happens in heaven. But before the explosion, Heaven stands still. Everything stands still. (Everything, except for you. You have to write. Remember that you are the little scribe writing what the Father is sharing to the Son.) With time standing still, Jesus looks at you and millions of Gentiles in His very heart, each a story yet to come forth. And glorious light explodes out of the heart of the Father, the glorious light of billions of gentile souls—sons and daughters—bursting forth; each like a snowflake with its own unique, creative character, bursting forth with vibrant rainbow colors, individually singing a personal song of love and devotion to the Father. These are all the Gentiles , created—the dream of the Father—but yet to be born.
Then the Father states to Jesus, “It is too small of a thing that You should just redeem Israel. I will make You a Light to the Gentiles (Isa. 49:6-7). Sin, will try to divide the two, but I will send You as a covenant to walk in between the two, to hang upon the cross in between the two. I will send You as a covenant. And You will be the Prince of Peace. Your sacrifice, Your LOVE, will unite the Jew and Gentile. You will unite Heaven and Earth. Just like a man and woman unite to become one flesh, You will unite Jew and Gentile. You will unite Heaven and earth. You will make the two one (Eph. 2:15).” Jesus, feeling the weight of every word is now on His knees in an overwhelming display of submission to the Father’s will.
Then the Father speaks again. “I have chosen to live in Jerusalem, to establish My Throne. I have set My Son on My Holy hill of Zion (Psa. 2), the King above every king. You will be the Bridegroom King.”
At that, Jesus watched a scene unfolding before Him. It was a little movie screen, the Father sharing what the future would hold, the Day of all Glory. Jesus stood transfixed by the movie unfolding before Him (the high-speed resolution was out of this world). The Father displayed Him as a Man, a Glorified Man, at the center of a most glorious parade in the streets of Jerusalem. There are shouts of men and angels, trumpet blasts, whirling dancers, streamers, and thousands of flowers flowing through the air. It is all directed at one person: the Bridegroom. He is walking up to the temple on His coronation day, the Day when all Israel will be saved (Rom. 11:26). And the Father will crown Him with many crowns.
Jesus says yes to the Father’s will. And He prays, “Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world” (John 17:24).
Jesus desires a Bride (practical worksheet) – (GROUP QUESTION: discuss whichever question seems most important).
- Read Matt. 22:1-14; Mark 14:3-9; Rev. 19:1-10 (Especially Rev. 19:7).
- From Rev. 19:7, write down what this verse shows about who God is.
- From Rev. 19:7, write down what this verse shows about what God thinks and feels about you.
- Do you believe that you are the bride of Christ?
- Do you feel like the bride of Christ, loved by God, or a distant, forgotten person?
- What, if anything, is keeping you from living today as the bride of Christ (meaning: what is keeping you from receiving His love today)?
- Is there anything that you need to say sorry to God for (meaning: anything to ask His forgiveness for)? If so, write it in the space below. As you’re writing it down, give Him all of your pain and regret.
- If it is in the heart of the Father to bring the Bride together, in Christ, both Jew and Gentile (Isa. 49:6-7; Eph. 2:15; John 17:24), then what can you do to help this along?
- If you desire to live as the bride of Christ today, then pray this prayer:
Jesus, I know that You are the Beloved Bridegroom. I know that You love the Father, and the Father loves Me the same way He loves You. I believe that You are ___________________ (summary of #2). I believe that you think and feel I am ___________________ (summary of #3). I know that I have the right to be loved by You. Fill me with Your overwhelming love, help me to live as the bride of Christ today.