The Purpose of Weddings
September 11, 2009 § 2 Comments
Weddings have been happening every moment, every day, every where, for thousands of years. In America, weddings have become quite the industry. There is somewhere around 2.5 million weddings every year in the United States. It is estimated that at least $40 billion is spent on weddings every year in the U.S.
With this multi-billion dollar industry, the true God-intended purpose for marriage is almost altogether forgotten.
So how do we, as gospel-loving Christians approach weddings? A few initial points to remember about marriage first (from John Piper):
- Marriage Is the Doing of God: Jesus makes the point most clearly that marriage is the doing of God. Mark 10:6-9, “From the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female’ (Genesis 1:27), ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’ (Genesis 2:24). So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” This is the clearest statement in the Bible that marriage is not a merely human doing. The words “God has joined together” means it is God’s doing.
- Marriage Is the Display of God: Paul makes the point most clearly that marriage is designed to be the display of God. In Ephesians 5:31-32, he quotes Genesis 2:24 and then tells us the mystery that it has always contained: “‘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.” In other words, the covenant involved in leaving mother and father and holding fast to a spouse and becoming one flesh is a portrayal of the covenant between Christ and his church. Marriage exists most ultimately to display the covenant-keeping love between Christ and his church.
Marriage is primarily designed to adorn the gospel of Jesus Christ. A marriage is the context where we can most closely see the relationship between Christ and his church. With this as the model for a marriage, what then shall we say about the establishing of the covenant, or the uniting of the man and the woman? If the marriage is a portrayal of Christ and the church, then likewise the wedding ceremony is glimpse at the joy that is to come, when Christ is united with his bride.
The day is coming when we, the church, will see our bridegroom, Jesus, face to face. It will be the most glorious celebration that any of us could ever imagine or fathom. We will be in the presence of Jesus, and Jesus will have the fullness of his reward. A depiction of this uniting is given in Revelation 19:7, 9, “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… And the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.” And he said to me, “These are the true words of God.”
Weddings therefore, like marriages, ought to give us a glimpse of the joy that will be when Jesus is united with his bride. So the ultimate question that should be considered when planning a wedding is not, “what will make us most happy?” rather, “what will portray, to the watching world, the glory of Christ being united to his bride?”
As we gather to celebrate the uniting of Tyler and Michelle, and as we eat, drink, laugh, talk, and pray, let our minds and hearts be ever longing for the uniting of Christ and his bride and the celebration that will ensue as we see him face to face.