Weekend, May 21, 2022

Dressed for the Wedding

“And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints” (Revelation 19:8 NKJV).

On more than one occasion the Bible compares the church to a bride and Jesus to the groom. In fact, Jesus used this illustration many times in His parables. For example, He told the story about the wedding of a king’s son. But there was a wedding guest who wasn’t wearing the proper garment, so the king cast him out.

This is a picture of people who think they don’t need to believe in Jesus to get into Heaven’s great Marriage Supper of the Lamb.

Jesus also told a parable about ten bridesmaids. Five were wise and five were foolish. The wise bridesmaids had oil in their lamps when the cry went out that the bridegroom was coming.

At weddings today, we place a great emphasis on the bride. With the guests in their seats, the music begins, and everyone stands up to see the bride coming down the aisle, usually escorted by her father. Then she’s joined to the groom.

But at first-century weddings, everyone waited for the groom, not the bride, and no one knew when he was arriving. If you happened to be asleep when the bridegroom showed up, you would miss the wedding.

Jesus used this illustration to show us that we need to be ready for His return. The book of Revelation, referring to Marriage Supper of the Lamb and His bride, tells us, “And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints” (19:8 NKJV).

This doesn’t mean that we must live a perfect life to go to Heaven, because we’re not saved by human effort. Jesus purchased our salvation. But “the righteous acts of the saints” are what we’ve done in light of that fact. Works don’t save us, but they are good evidence that we are saved.

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I love to tell stories—but I especially love to tell stories that point to Jesus. That’s one of the reasons I wrote a book about acting legend Steve McQueen. Steve was the King of Cool, but at the end of his life, he encountered the King of Kings. As a result, an American icon became a child of God.

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