If Jesus is the bridegroom then …

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It’s never really struck me before but perhaps one of the most overlooked examples of Jesus claim to God is found in Mark 2:18-22.  This little passage is tucked away in between two examples that we usually pick up on as examples of his divine authority. The first is when Jesus heals and forgives the man let down through the roof. He claims to forgive sin and his opponents see this as blasphemous because only God can do that. The second is when he is challenged over his and his disciples actions on the Sabbath.  Jesus insists that the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.

We are right to see a divine aspect to those claims to authority. Certainly, that’s how his opponents see things. However, Jesus’ emphasis here is that he is exercising authority as a human, as the son of Man. The focus does not seem to be on his deity.  That’s until we take into account verses 18-22.  Confronted over the failure of his disciples to observe the fasting customs.  Jesus’ response is to say that they cannot fast because the bridegroom is with them. 

“…The who … ?” That’s right, “The Bridegroom”.  Do we get the significance of that? In the Old Testament, God is portrayed, both in the prophetic literature and the Song of Songs as the husband of Israel.  Jesus in Ephesians 5:21-32 and at the end of Revelation will be portrayed as the husband or bridegroom of the Church.  In that status though, he is taking on divine identity.  God alone is the husband of his people.

This is why Jesus can have authority as The Son of Man, as human over creation.  Fallen man had lost that authority but God has come in the form of man to raise humanity back up to their intended position in creation.

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