Frank Viola author talks about the Bridegroom in his best-selling book, Jesus Now. Here’s an excerpt.
As the bride of Christ, the church is called to commune with, love, enthrone, and intimately know the heavenly bridegroom who indwells her.
Churches that excel in the bridal dimension give time and attention to spiritual fellowship with the Lord. Worship is a priority.
Seeking the Lord, loving Him, communing with Him, and just spending time with Him are central to His heart.
This dimension of the church can be seen as the engine that drives all of the church’s activities. It is love from Christ and for Christ that is the church’s motivation, energy, and life.
The Lord Jesus, as our heavenly bridegroom, doesn’t see His church as a work force. He wants lovers, not just helpers. Companions, not just servants.
The bridal dimension of the church is central to the church’s life and mission.
Preparing the Bride
God the Father has been orchestrating history to prepare Christ’s bride for marriage and reigning.
Each generation is working for the next. Every time a group of Christians and individual believers touch the heart of God and stand for His eternal purpose in the earth, a little bit of gold, pearl, and precious stone is deposited in the New Jerusalem for the building of God’s eternal home.
One day, the bride will be prepared, and she will become the Lord’s wife.
A compelling case can be made that God’s greatest desire is to be known and loved. And He has woven this same desire in the heart of every human. Herein do we find the longing of Jesus as our heavenly bridegroom and our high calling as His bride.
How Important Is She?
The bride of Christ appears all throughout the Scriptures, from Genesis (in type and shadow) to Revelation. For example:
She (the church) appears in the opening pages of holy Scripture, and she reappears at the very end. (Eve in Genesis 2 and the bride in Revelation 22.)
Your Lord and my Lord is consumed with a zeal that eats Him up for her. Jesus Christ gave His life for her and forsook everything to have her. (Ephesians 5:25 says that Christ gave Himself for the church. She’s the pearl of great price, hid in God from before the ages.)
Jesus Christ sees Himself as indistinguishable from her. She is bone of His bone and flesh of His flesh, His very body on earth (Matt. 25:40, 45; Acts 9:1–5).
She’s the fiancée of the Son of God, and He’s waiting to marry her.
Paul said in effect, “You, the body of Christ in Corinth, are the corporate Christ” (1 Cor. 12:12, 27; see also 1:12–13; 6:15; 8:12).
The very last words of Scripture are uttered by the bride: “The Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come.’”
She’s the wife of the Lamb. His partner for eternity.
She is at the very center of the mystery of the ages that Paul unveiled in Colossians and Ephesians.
The ekklesia is God’s eternal purpose. From before creation, He has wanted a bride, a house, a family, and a body (a visible expression). That was His original intention.
From the beginning, God the Father has wanted a corporate expression of Himself to reveal the beauty of His Son. He desired to have a counterpart for His Son. Why was Eve made? For Adam, to be his counterpart.
Thus the church is not only important but the most important thing to God that exists.
She’s His girl.
When a man falls in love with a woman, there is nothing more important to him than that girl. That’s a picture of the passion your Lord has for you.
Therefore, a large part of Christ’s ministry today is to love, cherish, protect, and perfect His bride. And He desires that she return that love back to Him.