One day when I was out of town I got a call from my wife Kristi, who was in tears. A salesperson for a photography company, a woman, had been very rude to her, swore at her, and then actually shoved Kristi. When I got home I called the company right up. I said you’d better deal with this woman or I’m calling the Better Business Bureau. I’ll call Channel 4 News. I’ll call the police. This woman needs to know she can’t treat my wife like that. A little while later the president of the company called me and told me he had fired the woman. “You don’t have to do that,” I said, “If she’s sorry. But she should know not to treat customers like that.” Eventually the woman called and apologized in tears, we forgave her and she didn’t lose her job. The point is, I was angry because someone had mistreated my wife.
The church is the bride of Christ
Revelation 19:7 says:
Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory,
for the marriage of the Lamb has come,
and his Bride has made herself ready
Again in Revelation 21:9
Then came one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues and spoke to me, saying, “Come, I will show you the Bride, the wife of the Lamb.”
Paul tells us that earthly marriage between a husband and wife is a mysterious picture of the union of Christ and his bride.
Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her (Ephesians 5:25)
And a few verses later:
“Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. (Ephesians 5:31-32)
As Christ’s bride, the church is most precious to him. He purchased her with his blood. He tenderly nourishes her. He fiercely protects her. Anybody who hurts his church incurs Jesus’ furious wrath.
If I was outraged when someone shoved my wife, imagine Jesus’ outrage toward those who abuse his bride. Someday Jesus will repay the North Korean president and soldiers in the work camps who torture Jesus’ people. That co-worker who constantly torments you at work because you’re a believer? Unless he repents, someday Jesus will pour out his fury on him. That college prof who mocks you for your faith? Someday he will stand dumbstruck and trembling before the judge of heaven and earth and have to answer for his mockery of Jesus’ bride.
Let this put the fear of the Lord into you and me. Every time we slander another believer, we do it to Christ’s bride. Every time we’re unmerciful to a fellow Christian, we hurt Christ’s Beloved. Every unkind word we say to a believer, every bad attitude we have toward a believer, every angry thought word or deed….all to Christ’s precious bride. And Jesus takes it very seriously. Hey, you don’t treat my bride that way.
Conversely, every act of kindness we do to a fellow believer, we do to Christ’s bride (and to Christ as well). Believers’ union with Christ is deep and real and intimate. Every time we care for a brother or sister, or encourage, bless or serve them in any way, we do it to Christ’s bride, and it pleases Jesus. Let’s love the church, value the church pray for the church, do good to her. Jesus won’t forget it. And he’ll bring it up at the great marriage supper of the Lamb.