This past October I had the honor of performing the ceremony as my son Zach wed his fiancee Bianca. I spoke about the meaning of marriage, not only to your spouse, but to our Savior Jesus Christ. And I would like to share that message with you all as well. I believe it’s the most important decision any one of us will ever make. — Kurt Olson
In the movie “The Princess Bride” the wedding officiant says these words, “Marriage is what brings us together today.” And that is true today. Marriage IS what has brought all of us together today!
The day is finally here. I bet it seemed like it took forever to get here didn’t it? Zach, when you proposed, I’ll bet you had no idea the avalanche of wedding planning and details that was about to bury you. And Bianca, Carrie and I want you to know that we have been praying for you since before you were born. We are so delighted to finally have met you and to be getting to know you.
Marriage, what’s it all about? Whose idea is it? Why do we do it? Are there any other primate mammals that invite all their friends and relatives to a ceremony and a party to witness their union? Sure, some of them mate for life but none of them marry. Why is that? It’s not because they can’t afford it.
‘In the Bible Jesus says these words. “God made them male and female from the beginning of creation. This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one. Since they are no longer two but one, let no one split apart what God has joined together.” (Mark 10:6-9)
And “no one” means NO ONE! Not you Zach, and not you Bianca. None of you in the audience. And no loser coming at you over social media. You have an order here; a directive; a command from the architect of marriage and the creator of the universe. He is telling us all how to protect a marriage. It’s not that complicated. Simply don’t let anyone split it apart.
PROTECT THE MARRIAGE
And whose job is it to protect your marriage? It’s YOUR job! It’s your job because nobody else is more invested in the success of this relationship than you two. Nobody will be able to do it for you. We can help but ultimately you two who are in the marriage need to work harder at protecting it than anyone else.
In the book of Proverbs it says, “above all else, guard your heart.” That literally means that the most important thing you can do in life is to protect your heart. Today is the day that we say you are giving your hearts to each other. If that is true then nothing is more important than protecting your heart and the heart of your spouse.
On a practical note, Zach, you are a handsome guy and Bianca, you are a beautiful young woman. And this culture today doesn’t respect the marriage covenant like it used to. So you need to know that you both will likely be pursued by people from outside your marriage. It may not be a matter of “IF” but “WHEN.” If it happens, it will probably feel good to be desired. But let me give you a little free advice…
If someone from outside your marriage starts pursuing you, what you immediately know about that person is that they are highly deficient in moral character because they are willing to pursue a married person. In that moment, guard your hearts, guard this marriage as the priceless treasure that it is, and block or delete or do whatever you need to do to eliminate that threat from your life.
WHO IS JOINING YOU TOGETHER?
I want you to notice something else from the verse above. Notice that it says God is joining you together. I know it seems like this is something you two are doing, but ultimately, it is something God is doing. He joins a man and woman together and HE now sees you as ONE instead of two. Just like two things, an egg and a sperm, come together to form the beginnings of life, and those two things cannot ever be separated again. That is how God views marriage. Two individuals come together and form something new… a family.
Last year, last week, yesterday, even right now, God sees you as Zach and Bianca but in a few minutes, when you say your vows, you will cease to be two individuals and you will become one entity. From God’s point of view you are no longer Zach and Bianca – You are a new family and no longer truly complete without the other.
It’s like that famous quote from Tom Cruise in the movie “Jerry Maguire;” “You complete me.”
I wonder what God will call you now. Maybe you’ll be “Zanca,” or maybe He will refer to you as “Biachary.” Or maybe simply “The Olsons.” Regardless of the name, you can be sure He sees you as permanently connected to each other.
WHY DO HUMANS MARRY?
If you believe the bible is true, you probably believe that marriage is God’s idea. But why invent marriage? Suppose God is the author of the idea but why? What is His purpose? Well, one thing I can tell you about God is that He likes symbolism. He likes to illustrate one thing with another.
In John 15 Jesus talks about how He is a vine, his disciples are the branches, and His Father is the Gardener. But Jesus isn’t actually a vine and his followers aren’t really branches. It is just symbolism to make a point. He is doing the same thing with marriage. It is a symbolism of something else. It’s a visual aid that God is using to teach us a massive truth!
You see, God invented Zachary here. He fashioned him as He thought best, and God thought it best to make Zachary an artist. I’m sure that Zach has often had people ask him, “What are you trying to say with that picture or sculpture?” “What is the message or meaning in it?” Haven’t you Zach?
I want you to know that God is also an artist. The beauty of His artistry knows no bounds. HE is trying to say something with this masterpiece of marriage. There IS a deep and mysterious meaning in it. And God wants you to know it.
A verse in the book of Ephesians sheds some light on this. It gives us some insight into the why of marriage…
In Ephesians 5 we read, “As the Scriptures say, ‘A man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.’ This is a great mystery, but it is an illustration of the way Christ and the church are one.”
Did you hear that? “It is a great Mystery” and “It is an illustration of the relationship between Jesus and the church*.”
Wait a minute? Hold the phone! Let me get this straight? You mean the one who designed and invented everything came up with all this? Sperm and egg join to become something new; husband and wife join and become something new; Jesus and His bride join together and become… what? Something new?!
Do you see the imagery? Before us today we have Zach and Bianca. They are committing their lives to each other today and they will, hopefully, have the same vision, purpose, and direction, all the days of their lives.
WHAT ABOUT THE WEDDING OF GOD?
In the book of Revelation it says, “Blessed are those who have been invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.”
There is going to be a wedding in Heaven? And who is getting married? The Lamb. That’s Jesus! And who is He marrying? The church, right? He’s not marrying a building or a denomination. He is marrying people.
This is a spiritual union that will never end. Our earthly marriages end when we die but this marriage between Jesus and His Church will never end! Why? Because we will never die!
After we conclude this ceremony, we are going to have a great party with food and drink and music and dancing. I am really looking forward to it. If people can throw this great of a party for a human wedding, can you imagine what kind of marriage banquet, what kind of wedding reception the creator of the universe is going to throw for His One and only Son? It is going to be beyond anything you or I can imagine. I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait.
Think about it, if Jesus is in the groom role then He would only want to be united to people who are totally loyal and committed to Him. He wants people who are passionate about the same things He is passionate about. Why would he want anyone else? Would you? That’s how marriage works. Complete commitment or NO DEAL. Right?
MARRIAGE IS EXCLUSIVE! RIGHT?
What if Bianca accepted Zachary’s marriage proposal but then said, “I’ll marry you but I want to keep living with my parents. I like my room and how they feed me and do my laundry. Also, I have a couple of other boyfriends I want to keep dating but if those things don’t bother you, then sure, I’ll marry you.”
What would Zach say? “No DEAL,” right? Because Marriage is exclusive! Whether it is between a husband and wife or between Jesus and His bride.
People marry other people because they are well suited for each other. They are compatible and similar. We don’t marry dogs, cats, or monkeys because they are not the right “kind” for us. But, who (or what) is a proper bride for a God who “fills the whole universe”?
Not just one or two, or even a dozen people, but millions and billions of people! Souls who have committed themselves to be completely faithful to Jesus for all time and eternity! Now that might just be a bride worthy of God! (Referencing Ephesians 4:10)
You see Zachary isn’t forcing Bianca to marry him. He made her a proposal. He offered her the opportunity to join her life to his life and she accepted… of her own free will.
Bianca, in a couple of minutes, you are going to commit to remain faithful to your new husband until death. And the offer of God is much like the offer Zach made to Bianca. Jesus has a proposal for you. It is as if He is holding out His hands and saying to you, “Will you commit yourself exclusively to me forever?”
God is spirit but we are flesh and spirit. Our flesh will die but our spirit will live on forever. And ONLY those who have accepted the proposal of Jesus will take part in the wedding of the Lamb. And just like Zach can’t force Bianca to marry him, neither will Jesus force anyone to be part of the bride of Christ!
Bianca could have said “No” to Zach, but the free will is what makes the “Yes” so meaningful. In the same way, the freedom to say “No” to Jesus is what makes saying “Yes” to God so meaningful to Him!
If you desire to participate in the wedding banquet of Jesus then you will need to accept the proposal of Jesus and all competitors must go for good.
Accepting the proposal of Jesus is the only thing that can get you there. Religion can’t, being a “good” person can’t, even believing that God exists will NOT get you there.
There are many ladies in the room today who believe Zachary exists. But the only one marrying him is the one who accepted his offer. Only accepting the offer of Jesus to join him, and forsake your old life, will get you an invitation to the wedding party of God.
If you want to be part of the most awesome celebration in the history of the Universe, don’t wait — accept Jesus’ proposal. Say “yes” to Jesus, give up your past life, and become part of the eternal bride of Christ today.
And just like a person never fully gets to know their spouse, you can never fully get to know Jesus. Getting to know Him will take eternity, so why not begin today. Follow this link to start getting to know Jesus today.
*When the bible talks about church, it is NOT talking about a building, and it’s NOT talking about a denomination or institution. It’s not talking about a religious gathering in a holy hall presided over by religious professionals for an hour or 2 a week. Church, according to the bible, is Jesus’ followers doing Jesus’ work! That is the bible’s definition of Church.