Today’s Daily Light
Friends…please read and ingest the meaning of Part 2 of this article down into your spiritual bone marrow…it is sooo special. 😊 dh
What Is the Mystery of Marriage? (Part 2)
THE MOST BELOVED (AND MISUNDERSTOOD) WEDDING TEXT
Article by David Mathis, Executive Editor, Desiring God Ministries
For millennia, humans the world over married and were given in marriage. Across cultures and societies, they felt a strange pull not just to procreate but to commit, though they didn’t know God’s deeper reason why. And even God’s covenant people, entrusted with his oracles (Romans 3:2), didn’t know why. There was indeed a great mystery to marriage. Why did God design the world this way? Why two sexes, and why one male and the other female? Why one called to lead, provide, protect, and shoulder final responsibility, with the other called to actively receive, beautify, and strengthen humble initiative and care? Why a dance of two complementaries, rather than just two of the same?
Did God simply make marriage what it is for no reason, some must have wondered, or is there an answer to the riddle? Is marriage pointing? Is there some deep magic that discloses a cosmic meaning? Paul empathized with the mystified, “This mystery is profound.” But in Christ, he now had found the key: “I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.”
The mystery in particular is in the quotation from Genesis 2:24 in the previous verse: “A man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh” (Ephesians 5:31). And we find here the same pattern we’ve seen elsewhere: a mystery in the past, now made known with the coming of Christ. God’s great secrets are out. And one of the best — Paul says, literally, “this mystery is great” — is marriage. One man, one woman, covenanted for life. Why did God do it this way? Why have a man leave father and mother and become one with his wife?
Joined to One Other
What does it mean to “hold fast” or “cling to,” or literally “to be joined to,” another person? Marriage establishes and protects one’s most fundamental human relationship. More fundamental than father and mother. More fundamental than the resulting children, precious as they are. More fundamental than a best friend. Not that marriage becomes one’s only relationship or only friendship (it need not and should not), but it forms one’s most fundamental human relationship. God made humans, in this sense, “to be joined” to one other. Husband to wife. Wife to husband.
And don’t miss who does the joining. It’s a passive verb: “be joined.” Husband and wife don’t take the ultimate action to join each other together. Rather, they are joined together by another. Which is why, when Jesus quotes Genesis 2:24 (in Matthew 19:5), he makes the joiner explicit: “What God has joined together, let not man separate” (Matthew 19:6).
Mystery No More
The now-solved mystery of marriage holds a lifetime of lessons for husbands and wives, but don’t miss the most vital one.
Yes, the world is deceiving us when it gives us the impression that marriage is an egalitarian partnership, a mere covenant friendship, in which each party bears equal loads — a union in which, ironically, we’re left to expect less of men (and make women more vulnerable). But the most vital lesson is that even the best husband is only a poor reflection of Jesus’s loving initiative, leadership, protection of, and provision for his church.
God joined our first parents in the garden, and men and women ever since, to point us — oh so imperfectly but truly — to the kind of love and care his Son would give his people. And Jesus doesn’t break his promises to us because we’re still sinful and inconsistent. He doesn’t disown those who are genuinely his because we fail him. Rather, he shoulders the final responsibility, and tirelessly serves us when we’re exhausted, and holds us up when our knees are weak. What good news it is that Christ is the husband of his church and not her egalitarian partner or mere friend. We are indeed his friends (John 15:15), but so much more. Together we are his wife. He gladly died for his church, and she gladly submits to the God-man.
And so a maiden who finds a man willing to die to himself for her good is not afraid of Paul’s shocking charge, “Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord” (Ephesians 5:22). In fact, she is a very wise woman who will have these words read at her wedding, because she knows the weighty charge that will follow: “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her” (Ephesians 5:25). (end of article)
This is a picture of Jeannie and me in front of Lamplugh Glacier in Glacier Nat’l Park, Alaska. We were there a few weeks ago, celebrating our 30th anniversary. Together…through a mutual love for our Savior…we continue to explore, discover, and grow in the mystery of marriage. If you can enlarge the picture…you can’t help but notice the pureness of soul in her smile and can see and feel the warmth and honesty in her eyes. I am one pretty lucky and extremely blessed guy to have found such a nearly perfect girl who loves me as all that I am and all that I am not. Nothing in this temporary life means more to me than her knowing that she is my delight and for me to see in her eyes that she knows I have loved her well. 😊 dh