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When Our Bridegroom Rises to Speak

Weekly Devotional for Preachers
When Our Bridegroom Rises to Speak
Image: Cyndi Monaghan / Getty

My Dear Shepherds,

I wish I could more clearly imagine the wedding supper of the Lamb. I picture innumerable tables heavy with celestial specialties at which are seated the great assembly of the saints, the bride of Christ, radiant in righteousness. I imagine our Bridegroom rising and we grow silent. His face shines for joy because this is the moment he has anticipated since before the creation of the world. Here with him finally and forever are all those for whom he died. With his face turned toward the glory of the Father, he takes the words of David as his own:

From you comes the theme of my praise in the great assembly;
before those who fear you I will fulfill my vows.
(Ps. 22:25)

Hebrews records his vow: “when Christ came into the world, he said,

‘Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but a body you prepared for me;
Then I said, ‘Here I am—it is written about me in the scroll —

I have come to do your will, my God.’” (Heb. 10:5-7, quoting Ps. 40:6 LXX)

The Law said that when someone fulfilled their vow to give freewill sacrifices to God, they would then host a feast to eat the meat of those sacrifices:

… y ou are to eat them in the presence of the LORD your God at the place the LORD your God will choose—you, your sons and daughters, your male and female servants, and the Levites from your towns—and you are to rejoice before the LORD your God in everything you put your hand to. (Deut. 12:18)

Those joyous feasts foreshadowed the joy of Jesus when salvation was finally and fully finished.

The poor will eat and be satisfied;
those who seek the LORD will praise him—
may your hearts live forever!
(Ps. 22:26)

Jesus told of a master who sent gospel servants into the streets and alleys, the roads and country lanes, to bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind, and the lame so that the master’s house would be full. Whether they’d been wealthy or needy in this world, only those who admitted the poverty of their hearts will be seated at Christ’s banquet.

As pastors we are like the servants dispatched in Jesus’ parable. At his banquet perhaps we’ll see brothers and sisters we served. Maybe we’ll remember how long it took for that brother to see his poverty, or a certain sister’s struggle to obey Jesus despite crushing pressure. Look! There is the man whose lowly service others rarely saw and, there, the woman whose heartbroken prayers you shared.

The meal set before the poor has been prepared by the LORD Almighty himself, “a feast of rich food for all peoples, a banquet of aged wine—the best of meats and finest of wines.” The last time Jesus ate with his disciples he said, “I will not eat it again until it finds fulfillment in the kingdom of God.” The meanings of what we eat will surpass the flavors!

How often and in how many ways have we pastors tried to help our flocks taste and see that the Lord is good? Sermons, songs, counseling, prayer, and Communion, distributing the tiny cups and morsels of bread for God’s people, memory and grace in small bites to tide them over till the feast itself was ready.

So, I imagine that on that great day our Bridegroom will stand and raise his cup high in a triumphant toast and shout, “May your hearts live forever!” And we who were once paupers will shout , “Hallelujah! Worthy is the Lamb!”

Be ye glad!

Lee Eclov recently retired after 40 years of local pastoral ministry and now focuses on ministry among pastors. He writes a weekly devotional for preachers on Preaching Today.

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