By Jane Fryar
The kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom (Matthew 25:1 ESV).
Marriage customs in New Testament times differed in significant ways from our own. For example, unlike our custom of “engagement,” betrothal was a legal commitment, a contract. It usually took place well before the wedding ceremony itself.
When the time came to consummate and celebrate the marriage, the bridegroom and his friends would go to the bride’s home to escort her to the home he had been preparing for her in the months since their betrothal.
Surrounded by the friends we today might call bridesmaids, the bride waited eagerly for the groom’s entourage to arrive. Anticipation grew as night fell and the hours passed. At some point, the cry would go up, “The bridegroom is coming! Go out to meet him!”
The bride and her friends would run out to the street, carrying torches to light their way, smiles and laughter all around. The wedding feast had begun.
Throughout the New Testament, Jesus compares himself to a bridegroom. He promises to come one day soon to claim his bride, the Church. Even now, he is preparing a home for us, a wonderful home, one filled with love, joy, and affection:
In my Father's house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also (John 14:2–3 ESV).
This is no fairytale about some imaginary prince. This is our Savior—and he is coming to claim us as his very own! “You are mine,” he will whisper, and our hearts will melt, overwhelmed at the thought.
That day has not yet arrived. So, like the bride and the bridesmaids in Jesus’ story, we wait. We watch. We live in eager expectation of all that awaits us. “You are mine!” Jesus whispers—today and forever.
Prayer starter: Lord Jesus, I am yours and you are mine! I will never fully understand your gracious love, but you tell me it is for me, and I believe it. As I wait for your return . . .
Editor’s note: Today’s devotion comes from one of CTA’s women’s devotion books, Whispers of God’s Love. This also makes a great theme for a women’s retreat! You can download—right now, for FREE—CTA’s retreat planning outline. With five sessions of Bible study and all the planning details you need, this outline is your go-to women’s retreat resource!
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