Jesus as Husband

The relationship between Jesus and the Christian community is likened to that of a husband's relationship with his wife.

"Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior.  Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless." Eph 5:22-27

However due to the influence of feminism many in today's society misconstrue the roles of husband and wife. Jesus relationship with his Church is likened to a marriage, but a marriage quite different from the egalitarian concept of marriage so predominant in modern society. Much can be learned about the relationship between Christ and the Christian by reflecting on what the Bible teaches concerning the marriage relationship - and the converse is true as well.

First concerning the husband's role as reflected in Christ, notice that his main objective is not so much to make her happy as to make her holy. Holiness - Sanctification - is the objective. He doesn't simply tolerate her sin, he eliminates it. He doesn't simply forgive, he cleanses such that she no longer practices sin, but practices godliness.

"For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say "No" to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope— the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good." Titus 2:11-14

Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready. Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear." (Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of the saints.)  Then the angel said to me, "Write: ‘Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!’" And he added, "These are the true words of God." Rev 19:7-9

"I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy. I promised you to one husband, to Christ, so that I might present you as a pure virgin to him." 2Cor 11:2

Another Biblical aspect of the attribute of a husband is that of being considerate.
"Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them." Col 3:19
"Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner"1Peter 3:7
Thus Christ is considerate of our weaknesses and not characteristically harsh towards Christians. Nonetheless he does rebuke and does not tolerate sin. These attributes can be seen not only as he speaks and acts through his apostles, but also when he speaks directly to his churches in the first thress chapters of Revelation. While some he encourages, other he rebukes, but he exhorts all to abide in him and endure in holiness. One thing characteristic of his rhetoric which may be a challenge for husbands today is that he was honest and open about his evaluation of his bride.

Now in the Biblical concept of marriage the husband holds a position of legitimate authority over his wife. The wife's role is one of service and submission in every area of life. She holds a subordinate role in the marriage, though few today have the humility to accept such a concept. "Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord." Col 3:18 Our intimacy with Christ is a function of our obedience. Jesus said, "You are my friends if you do what I command." John 15:14 And "Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him." John 14:21

What Christ most appreciates in Christians is much like what the Bible teaches concerning the beauty of the wife.

"Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to make themselves beautiful. They were submissive to their own husbands" 1Peter 3:3-5
This is in contrast to that of a nagging rebellious wife. Furthermore we note that it is not simply the carrying out of Christ's commands, but the attitude in doing so which is important to him.

Another aspect of marriage is that it is for life. It is "till death do you part." And as such there is a sense of security and commitment in such a relationship not found in casual friendships.

"By law a married woman is bound to her husband as long as he is alive, but if her husband dies, she is released from the law of marriage. So then, if she marries another man while her husband is still alive, she is called an adulteress. But if her husband dies, she is released from that law and is not an adulteress, even though she marries another man. So, my brothers, you also died to the law through the body of Christ, that you might belong to another, to him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit to God." Rom 7:2-4
We notice also here the analogy between bearing children in marriage and "bearing fruit to God". Children are a natural byproduct of marriage - and so also is fruitfulness to God a byproduct of our abiding in Christ. Jesus said, "I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit." John 15:5

Discussion Questions

What is the role of husband in a marriage in contrast to that of the wife?
What misconceptions may people have about the role of husband due to cultural influences?
In his role as husband, what does Jesus view as his job?
What does Christ more appreciate in his bride?
And what does he expect of his bride?
How can one achieve more intimacy with Christ?
What other aspects of marriage are applicable to the relationship between Christ and the Church?

The Berean Christian Bible Study Resources Jul 29,2015