Revelations from the Word

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The betrothal of the Bridegroom

by Jean-Louis Coraboeuf

"Then there arose a dispute between some of John's disciples and the Jews about purification. And they came to John and said to him, Rabbi, He who was with you beyond the Jordan, to whom you have testified – behold, He is baptizing, and all are coming to Him! John answered and said, A man can receive nothing unless it has been given to him from heaven. You yourselves bear me witness, that I said, I am not the Christ, but, I have been sent before Him. He who has the bride is the bridegroom; but the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom's voice. Therefore this joy of mine is fulfilled. He must increase, but I must decrease... The Father loves the Son, and has given all things into His hand. He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him" (John 3:25-36).

John the Baptist was the friend of the Bridegroom; he came as a forerunner to prepare the People of God to welcome the Bridegroom that God the Father was sending. At the request of His Father, Jesus therefore came down from heaven (John 3:13) to look for the Bride that His Father was giving Him (John 3:27). He came to pay a 'Dowry' [mohar in Hebrew] to the father of His future Bride (Genesis 29:15-20 and 34:12) and to establish a 'Contract' of marriage [ketouvah in Hebrew, literally 'that which is written']. Seeing Jesus, John the Baptist recognized the Bridegroom of whom God had spoken to him (John 1:33):

  • "Behold the Lamb who takes away the sin of the world" (John 1:29). The 'Dowry' concerns our buying back, our redemption, by the precious blood of the Lamb (1 Peter 1:18-19). This is the price Jesus paid for us to deliver us from the power of Satan to whom we belong through our natural birth.

  • He made straight the way so that "The glory of the Lord shall be revealed and the Good News shall be brought" (John 1:23 and Isaiah 40:5-11). This is the 'Contract', the "Torah of Christ" (1 Corinthians 9:21), that we call Gospels.

  • "Behold the One who baptises in the Holy Spirit" (John 1:33). The Holy Spirit we receive is the guarantee of the inheritance (Ephesians 1:14) that will be fully revealed when the Bridegroom will come to pick His Bride up (1 Peter 1:3-5).

When we accept the redemption obtained by Jesus Christ (the 'Dowry' that He paid for our freedom) and the Torah of Christ (the written 'Contract' of the Four Gospels), we enter the Covenant God the Father has made with His Son. As a sign of acquiescence we drink the cup of the Covenant with our brothers and sisters of the Kingdom (Luke 22:20). We receive the deposit of the Holy Spirit in our heart (2 Corinthians 1:22) and eternal life (John 3:36). We leave the kingdom of Satan and we enter the Kingdom of God to belong to the Bridegroom (John 3:29). It is the time of the betrothal. The betrothal is a major stage in a Jewish marriage. The betrothed couple are considered husband and wife, and the Bride consecrates herself and purifies herself, that is to say that she set herself apart for her Bridegroom.

When Jesus ascended to the Father to prepare a dwelling place for us (John 14:2), the Bride too, prepares herself with the help of the Holy Spirit, who leads her to sanctify herself to become irreproachable (1 Thessalonians 5:19-24), and purify herself in the water of the Word (Ephesians 5:26) and to accomplish the works of God to be dressed in her most beautiful finery (Revelation 19:7-8). When John the Baptist recognized the voice of the Bridegroom, he experienced great joy (John 3:29) for he knew that his mission was accomplished, that is why he said, "It is necessary that He increases and that I decrease". From that moment on, the most important thing for him was to see his disciples go to the Bridegroom.