Gregg Nydegger column sig

Have you ever arrived at your designated hotel only to discover that your room wasn’t ready? Or maybe it was “ready,” but not what you expected.

Perhaps it was dirty, there was no hot water, the bed was small and uncomfortable, the thermostat didn’t work, or the room smelled.

Never fear, Christians. Jesus has our eternal lodging covered. Who needs “Bada Book, Badda Boom” when we’ve got Jesus? Not only will He leave the lights on for us, He IS the light.

As we’ve discussed in prior articles, in the 2,000 years since His Ascension, Jesus has been fulfilling the role of eternal High Priest: mediating, interceding and advocating for all believers in the Father’s presence, and providing prayer access to the Father. Jesus has also been …

Making sure things are ready for our arrival. Let’s talk about Jewish wedding customs. Entering into a Jewish marriage occurred over a length of time, often lasting a year or more (especially if the bride was quite young).

First came the signing of a betrothal contract, a legally binding agreement between the father of the future bride and her husband-to-be. According to custom, at this point the bride and the groom were legally married, although they didn’t yet live together or have sexual relations. Thus, betrothal was much more than what we’d call an engagement today.

Once the contract was made, witnessed and signed, there was a ceremony at the bride’s house involving the groom, his bride, and a few family and friends. The groom would pour out a cup of wine, often called a cup of acceptance. He’d pray a prayer of thanks and blessing over the cup, drink from it, and then hand it to his proposed bride. If she took it and drank from it, she consented to the marriage.

This cup of blessing sealed the contract, symbolically linking man and woman together until the official wedding that was to come.

When we accept Jesus’ invitation to join in the Lord’s Supper — “Do this in remembrance of Me” — we re-enact a betrothal contract acceptance, visibly picturing that we, as the Church, are married to Christ.

At this point, the groom would leave the bride with her family and return to his father’s house to prepare a place for her. (Unlike our custom today, extended families stayed together.) Sometimes this involved adding a room to or remodeling his father’s house.

Often there was a temporary bridal chamber made at the father’s house where, after the official ceremony, the bride and groom would live for seven days before moving into the main house.

Thus, during this betrothal period, although the groom was temporarily away from his bride, he was busy preparing to bring her to his home. The symbolism of the groom (Jesus) going away until all is ready is pictured in John 14:1-3 (ESV) where Jesus said:

“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.”

The Bible portrays Jesus as the Groom, and the Church as His bride. While Jesus is absent now, He’s hard at work in Heaven getting our new home ready.

For all who’ve been added to the Church — baptized into the Body of Christ — Jesus is even now preparing an eternal place for us.

Christ promised to have everything ready for our arrival, and He’s never reneged on a promise yet. When Jesus says it will happen, it always happens. People sometimes promise things with the best of intentions, but something goes wrong or something unforeseen occurs. However, that won’t happen with Jesus.

When we all get to Heaven, what a day of rejoicing that will be because our room will be ready, and Jesus will be ready for us at His Father’s house.

The Bible reveals that our Heavenly home will far exceed anything we can think or imagine. It’s beyond description using finite, human language. In 1 Corinthians 2:9, the apostle Paul described it: “No eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him.”

Do you have a future home in Glory Land that outshines the sun? Is Jesus preparing a place for you? When we acknowledge Jesus as Lord and Savior, repent of our sins, and are baptized into the name of Jesus, we’re added to the Church, the Bride of Christ. Are you betrothed to Jesus?

In the final article in this series, we’ll see that Jesus is preparing for His Second Coming to bring His bride home.

Gregg Nydegger is the evangelist at Christ’s Church at Monticello.