Jesus Gave Everything for His Bride
We are often derailed from the marriage that Jesus wants for us by our innate desire to protect ourselves. Too often we apply the world’s wisdom to our relationships and not God’s. We lose sight of the awesome standard for us as Christian husbands in this flawed world. It is the complete opposite of what the world says to do. We are told simply by Paul in his letter to the Ephesians that we are to love our wives as Christ loved the Church. Do we understand what this means? Do we really understand what Paul is saying when he sets out that standard? Jesus died for the church. He gave up everything He had for her. This is our standard for loving our wives Christian Husbands.
How are we doing? For a reminder of what this sacrifice looked like read Philippians 2:
Jesus is God, the maker of the entire universe and the One through whom all things were made. He is the occupant of the throne of Heaven where He is worshiped continually. Day and night heaven sings of His greatness. Yet, out of love, He stepped off of that great exalted throne and become a lowly man. Jesus willingly subjected Himself to all of the pain and weakness mortal bodies throw at us.
Not only did Jesus become a man, but he also became a servant. He became a slave whose rights were violently violated. He willingly died a death that was reserved for the worst criminals under a brutal and unjust empire of man. Jesus knew that He was to have nails hammered through His wrists and feet by His creation. He knew that He would be rejected and abused. He knew that He would be brutally beaten and spat upon…and He came anyway.
Why did Jesus do it?
The Love of Christ Compels
Jesus willingly faced the shame, pain, and even death because He loves His bride, the church. Jesus laid down everything for His church. He had the right to judge. He had the right to vengeance and fury. He had the right to be respected and served. He chose sacrificial love instead. This is the type of love we are called to as husbands. Jesus chose sacrificial love and service instead. While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Behold what manner of love!
Jesus’ Love is Our Standard Husbands
This is the love we are called to as husbands. Jesus is able to call down a legion of angels to save Himself from a horrible unjust death and He chooses not to out of love. He lays down His rights for the good of His bride.
Jesus gave up everything willingly to serve the bride who was acting terribly. This is familiar territory for those that understand the Gospel, but how about the application of it. Husbands, this is our example of how to treat the woman we call wife. Even though Jesus was right, because it was best for His bride, He gave all, loved and served.
How do we like it? How are we doing? Is our flesh rebelling? I know I sometimes more desire to be proven right with my wife than to do what is best for her.
Do we love our brides well when they are loving us well? Jesus says that is great but even the tax collectors love the ones who love them. That is not our calling. Ours is set by Jesus, the One who gave up everything including His own life for people who were spitting on Him, mocking Him, driving spikes through His body. This is how we husbands are supposed to love our wives.
It is daunting to contemplate. What is required to have this sort of love? Well, look at the Philippians description again:
Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus,
“Let this”, it is only two words but don’t miss the significance. Loving and serving like Jesus involves a choice on our part. God will not force us to seek Jesus or to apply His love to our lives. We must set out Jesus as our standard and seek to walk like Him – put on the mind of Christ. Then the Holy Spirit will work to make that decision a reality.
who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God,
Understand who Jesus is and what He gave up. Jesus is God with all the power, glory and rights of the Father. No matter what you are laying down for your bride, it comes nowhere near what Jesus offered.
but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.
Jesus did not care what others said about Him. The Pharisees accused Him of being from the Devil, the High Priest called Him a liar and the people mocked Him. Jesus was not swayed from His calling. In the same way, friends and family will have many opinions about our serving and loving our wives. There are many books that will give us the opposite suggestions. Our flesh will rebel against what Jesus calls us to do with our wives. Are we willing to give up our reputations and love sacrificially?
And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.
Humility. It is one of the hardest virtues to consistently display in the midst of a heated marriage. Jesus chose to wash the stinky, dirty feet of His followers after they refused to do so out of their own ugly pride. He then says if we want to be His disciple we should do the same. The humble husband does not pretend that his wife’s feet are not dirty. He accepts that his feet were way more filthy before the perfect spotless Savior was willing to wash them. How could he not pass that on?
Therefore God also has highly exalted Him
Perhaps most importantly, loving like Jesus requires faith. We must trust that God will honor the humble service and lift our marriage to a wonderful place.
Loving like Jesus as a husband also makes any idea of wrestling for power in the marital relationship seem silly. The objections of submitting to one’s husband becomes much less radical or onerous if that husband is serving and loving like Jesus commands. A love like Jesus’ never causes resentment.
In comparison, how are we doing loving our wives and families?
I still grumble when my wife reminds me to take out the garbage. I am still not close to meeting that mark…but I am better than I was 10 years ago. I hope to be better than this 10 years from now. I know I won’t be perfect until I see Jesus face to face. There is the perfect love of Jesus and then there is everyone else. But it is our example and our goal to shooot for.
How about you husband? Have you expressed love for your bride like Jesus did for you on the Cross? If not, where can you improve? How can you love your wife better – like Jesus – today and every day?