Thursday, December 23, 2010

Drinking of Christ's Love

This is one of the devotions from the book of devotions I have written based on the Heidelberg Catechism.  I recently was editing this devotional, and decided to post it here. 
--Bill

Drinking Often of the Bridegroom’s Love by Faith

Reading:

1) Heidelberg Catechism

The Seventh Commandment

You shall not commit adultery.

108 Q. What is God's will for us in the seventh commandment?

A. God condemns all unchastity. We should therefore thoroughly detest it, and, married or single, live decent and chaste lives.

2) Scripture

John 3:26-29: And they came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, he who was with you across the Jordan, to whom you bore witness—look, he is baptizing, and all are going to him.” 27 John answered, “A person cannot receive even one thing unless it is given him from heaven. 28 You yourselves bear me witness, that I said, ‘I am not the Christ, but I have been sent before him.’ 29 The one who has the bride is the bridegroom. The friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom's voice. Therefore this joy of mine is now complete.

John 4:4-7: And he had to pass through Samaria. 5 So he came to a town of Samaria called Sychar, near the field that Jacob had given to his son Joseph. 6 Jacob's well was there; so Jesus, wearied as he was from his journey, was sitting beside the well. It was about the sixth hour. 7 A woman from Samaria came to draw water.
John 4:16-18: Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come here.” 17 The woman answered him, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You are right in saying, ‘I have no husband’; 18 for you have had five husbands, and the one you now have is not your husband. What you have said is true.”

Comment

Yesterday we asked the question, why should we “live decent and chaste lives?” The answer we gave is grounded in the triune nature of God. God himself is a community-in-relationship that exists in eternal love, and this triune existence of God sets the pattern for human relationships, including marriage. But in today’s devotion we want to explore the question a bit further: Why should we “live decent and chaste lives?”

In John 3, John the Baptist points to Jesus as the divine bridegroom, who comes down from heaven for the sake of his bride to cleanse her, unite her to himself, and care for her. In John 4, Jesus comes to a well, which in the Old Testament is the place of betrothal. Abraham’s servant finds a bride for Isaac at a well. Jacob finds Rachel at a well. Moses finds his wife at a well. And now the true bridegroom, who is the archetype of every husband, comes to a well! It is a remarkable scene. Who will the true bridegroom marry!?

Along comes a woman who is in despair about the whole concept of marriage and husbands. None of her five husbands has satisfied her, and the sixth is merely a live-in. This woman seems an unlikely candidate for marriage to the spotless, Son of God, but this is what will soon happen by unmerited grace. The Samaritan woman has met a seventh (seven is a number associated with perfection) husband who can give her living water, which will truly satisfy her thirst. The Samaritan woman becomes a picture of the church and the grace it needs, which only its perfect Husband can sufficiently provide.

Why should we “live decent and chaste lives?” Because as Christians we have been united to Jesus Christ. He is our heavenly bridegroom, who alone can satisfy our souls. Every earthly marriage is a sign and symbol of this eternal union, which brings true, eternal joy.

So much of our problem as human beings is that we have a “wandering eye.” We don’t really believe that our God can satisfy all our needs. We doubt the fact that the Lover of our souls can satisfy us with his love. The woman at the well came to understand and believe that Jesus Christ can satisfy, for he gives living water. As he himself says, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

The substance is greater than the sign. The reality is greater than the symbol. Marriage can be satisfying, but it is still just a signpost in our wilderness journey, pointing to a deeper, more ultimate reality. Why should we “live decent and chaste lives,” as believers in Christ? Because we belong to the Husband who meets the deepest needs of the human heart. Before we knew Christ, we gave our hearts in marriage to idols that will always fail us. Let’s give our hearts in marriage to the One who can never fail us, our Heavenly Husband and Lover of our souls. Let us drink deeply and often of his love by faith, for it will meet the truest, deepest needs our heart.

Discussion: How do the verses in John point to Jesus as the true husband of his people? Since Jesus is our Husband, what joys, privileges, and responsibilities do we have?

Prayer Starter: By faith receive Christ’s love through the gospel. Ask him to pour out his love into your heart by the Spirit. Thank him for being your heavenly husband, and enjoy his love by faith.


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