In Scripture, there are passages that refer to Jesus as a “bridegroom.” One of these is Mark 2:18–20:
“Now John’s disciples and the Pharisees were fasting; and people came and said to him, ‘Why do John’s disciples and the disciples of the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?’ And Jesus said to them, ‘Can the wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them? As long as they have the bridegroom with them, they cannot fast. The days will come, when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast in that day.’”
Since all of Scripture is inspired by the Holy Spirit, it’s clear that God wants to communicate something to us through this revelation of Christ as the bridegroom.
Let’s dive deeper into the Bible to find out what this means.
The Old Testament portrays God’s relationship with Israel as a covenant.
In a covenant, God espouses Himself to His people. He uses marital language by promising them a fidelity that is unfailing and unconditional. Though His people were often faithless, He remained faithful. He is immutable and will never go against His word.
God formed covenants with His people by gathering them together into a community. The covenant was sealed through a variety of ritual gestures, such as the sprinkling of blood. This sealing was like a betrothal. Then the community would sit down to what was effectively a wedding feast.
God made different covenants throughout the Old Testament, including with Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, and King David. When He spoke through the Old Testament prophets, He again used the language of marriage to represent His relationship with Israel.
The most striking example of this is the prophet Hosea, who was instructed to marry a harlot. God used this marriage to illustrate His relationship with His people. Israel at this time was the harlot, running after other nation’s gods. But God was the faithful bridegroom who always stood ready to welcome His bride back and make her holy and pure.
With some of the later prophets, God spoke of a coming new covenant. This covenant would signify an even more intimate relationship between God and His people. That, of course, was fulfilled with the coming of Christ.
The New Testament portrays Christ’s relationship with the Church as a marriage.
The first of Jesus’ public signs is when He turned water into wine at the wedding feast of Cana in John 2:1–11. With this gesture, Jesus not only blessed married love, but also symbolically hinted at His identity as bridegroom. That’s because during this time, the bridegroom’s role was to ensure there was enough wine for the guests.
It was at this wedding that Jesus said His “hour had not come.” This points toward His passion, death, and resurrection, where He would take His role as bridegroom to a new level. His fidelity to His bride — now the Church, the new Israel — extended so far to where He willingly died to redeem her. In many cultures, it’s the husband’s duty to lay down his life to protect his wife. Jesus perfectly embodies this sacrificial love.
With this, Christ establishes a new covenant with the Church, a new law that is simply the grace of the Holy Spirit. It opens the door to eternal union with God in heaven. It’s worth noting that the Scriptures compare the joy of heaven to the joy of a wedding feast.
The reason why there is no marriage between people in heaven is that each of us will be wed to Christ. Marriage on earth is a sign pointing to this communion with Christ. But you don’t need signs when you possess the reality.
God wants to be wholly yours and make you wholly His. How will you respond to this invitation?