Stealing His Bride

John 3:29 ...this my joy therefore is fulfilled.

In ancient Israel marriages were arranged. Most of the time the bride and groom had little to do with choosing who they married. Special “friends” would negotiate marriages with the parents. But marriage negotiator was not exactly the role John the Baptist filled in the illustration he used in this verse. As a trusted friend he was sent by the groom to prepare the bride for His coming. John 3:29

For a moment let's move from the illustration to the reality. In his role John gathered a large group of baptized followers (the bride) who waited for the revelation of the Christ (the Groom). Until this revelation the followers would only see John. In fact, they were constantly mistaking John for the Christ. John 3:28 

John was the one leading the work of gathering, baptizing, and teaching the people. So the Bride's eyes were constantly on him, and her ears listened to every word he spoke. I expect she was constantly complementing him too.

John could have taken possession of the bride--at least in his mind. It would've been easy to do. To avoid this John had to remember his role, and remember that the groom, his friend, was coming for His bride. The Groom trusted him...

Are we who serve Christ today any different than John when it comes to the practical aspects of his ministry? We work to gather and prepare a glorious bride for Jesus when He returns. And they, the people--His church, don't physically see Him they see us. (This thought actually affects me so deeply that I become a bit nauseous when I consider the responsibility of it)

His brides' eyes and ears are, in a sense, ours for the time being. This can be a heady thing. We can become bride thieves, at least in our minds, if we are not careful... a sort of spiritual adultery. And I don't speak only of those of us who are ordained. Having worked with troubled churches for over 20 years I know that some of the greatest problems in churches can be caused by members who take possession of what belongs to Christ alone.

I (we) must remember: the Groom trusts me with His bride. I am (we are) a friend He has sent to care for and prepare His bride. My (our) role is only temporary, limited, and ends with another of His friends stepping into this role when my time is finished, or when He comes. It is not about me, I'm nothing, it is all about Jesus and His bride. Even so come Lord Jesus so this our joy may be fulfilled.

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