THE BRIDE, January 17 2013
“”Come to me all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest.”
A gentle shepherd searches urgently amidst the thorny brambles and gnarled brush seeking a wounded, trembling sheep. Could that be you? You’ve been alone, isolated, misunderstood even by your own family members. Friends forsook you and even your search for God in churches have led you to places of disgust, disappointment and even more spiritual devastation than before you walked in the doors.
I’ve been one of those battered little lost lambs. I’ve stumbled from pasture to pasture only to end up sitting, yet once again under the wrong shepherd who battered me worse than the last one! I’ve long ago stopped searching for human shepherds to lead and guide me. I’ve entered the sweet rest in Yeshuah Hamashiah’s pasture. My drawing closer to Him has brought me to deeper and deeper levels of intimacy, but the more I seek him, the more hungry I am for all He has to give and show me! The covenant of adoption began when Jesus declared peter to be the first father of the church. Covenants are drawn between close associates, not with a stranger or acquaintance.
Yeshuah Jesus said, “ I am the door to the sheepfold.” John 19: 7-10 Here His sheep hear His voice. They do not follow a hired shepherd because they do not care for the well-being of the sheep. Let me describe even more succinctly the depth of His care. Jesus told his disciples that at a certain point, we are no longer just His servant. He calls us His friends. As we draw nearer and nearer to Him, we find ourselves adopted into His spiritual family!
I cherish the covenant Jesus says that Father God has given us. Jesus told Peter, ‘Upon this rock shall I build my church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. With Jesus’ declaring regarding Peter’s anointing, began the building of the church, The Bride of Christ. Revelation Chapter 19 :7-9 talks about the great wedding prepared for His Bride, the church.
God’s people are distracted by so many temporal, material and political concerns, but we must discipline ourselves to set our focus on the Lord and His business. Most important is the necessity to sit at Jesus feet and learn of Him. He is our shepherd, who leads us to safe pasture, but he is also our bridegroom, seeking to be betrothed to His glorious Bride!
Jesus was very close to several people during His ministry. He was particularly close to John, but also to Mary, Martha and Lazarus. There are several memorable events that I’d like to expound on depicting the ideal relationship between Jesus and another person.
One episode, dear to me, is when Jesus met for supper at Simon the lepers house in Bethany While Jesus sat dining and conversing, Mary moved closer to him and sat near him to hear all he had to say. Martha bustled about in the kitchen, stressed and occupied with serving. She eyes her sister and approached Jesus.. Frowning, She turned to Jesus, “Master, tell my sister to help me.” Jesus answered in Mary’s defense., “She has chosen the better thing and she will not be denied.”
Mary was a very unconventional woman in her particular time and culture, preferring to sit with the men and learn, than bustling about the kitchen doing unimportant work. Mary loved to be around Jesus and meditated on everything He had to say. She was a deep, free-thinker!
In another episode, we read about the disciples sitting around the table, deeply engrossed in conversation. John 12 1-7. Mary is deeply contemplating as she stares at Jesus. Slowly walking, oblivious to the mens’ conversations going on, she approaches Jesus with her alabaster flask of expensive Spikenard perfume. We aren’t told how long she saved for its purchase or where she bought it. All we know was that it was worth a years wages, 300 denarii.
“Rabonni,” she whispers. As he looks at her, sits at His feet. “I have something to share with you” Mary was about to display all the depth of her adoration for her master and beloved teacher. She tapped her alabaster flask, breaking the neck, and held it over Jesus’ head. The thick, fragrant oil ran all down his robes. Jesus submitted to Mary’s passionate display and she started to weep, as if knowing that soon, she would no longer bask in His exquisite presence She then knelt down at his feet and poured more of the spikenard.. She bowed her head and her veil slid down off her shoulders. Her waist-length hair fell on Jesus feet and Mary wiped his feet with the perfume-laden hair strands. The men’s conversation suddenly stopped upon noticing the strong, sweet fragrance filling the whole room. They were intrigued watching the weeping Mary bowed down low with her long hair swirling around Jesus feet.
Of course, the men had to spoil the emotion of Mary’s devotion. They snorted in disdain and Judas even went so far as to rebuke her for wasting such an expensive product! Imagine deeming Jesus less important than money for the poor!
I’m sure the disciples were surprised when Jesus answered back, “Leave her alone. She is doing a good thing, preparing me for my burial. Jesus valued Mary’s display so much that he said that wherever the Gospel was preached her act was to be told (a testimony for all time)!
Indeed, Mary was a very special woman and responded to Jesus in deeply passionate and uncompromising way. very unconventional. She loved him unabashedly and displayed her love for him with total abandon. I’m sure she opened many secret doors to Jesus’ heart.
My prayer is to have a relationship like Mary and Jesus, where He is all I think about and live for. The gospels give a beautiful pictures of the tender place Yeshuah had for women.
We see how He responded to the Samaritan woman at the well. Jesus cared less that she had a notorious reputation and was of mixed ancestry. Yeshuah witnessed the stubborn faith of the woman with the issue of blood and marveled at the young mother who begged Jesus to heal her daughter. She could have been insulted when he said He couldn’t give the bread to dogs, but she boldly declared that the crumbs were for her!
Jesus also gave the women the honor to share the glorious good news of His resurrection, while the men were fearful and doubting!
Mary’s relationship with Jesus is a beautiful example of how we, the Bride of Christ, should respond to our Bridegroom. He is not just our gentle, nurturing shepherd but our future groom! May our desire to be to sit and His feet, just to hear what He has to say to us. Let us abandon ourselves to His presence as Mary did even surrounded by the disciples.
Sometimes, I am so swept away with thankfulness and adoration, I say like the character of Mary, in Jesus Christ Superstar, “I don’t know how to love him!”
He paid such a price for us at Calvary and covenanted with us so many breathtaking promises, we surmount that there is nothing we can possible give him back! He is so marvelous and beyond description, we cannot have words to say to glorify His name!
Jesus set a new precedence in his relationship with the women he met in His travels. Though the culture at the time held women in low esteem, Jesus chose to reveal His grace, love and respect and he wanted the world to see it!
We women, (and men) have a precious inheritance, Jesus betrothal and wedding celebration. We are His chosen, cherished and glorious Bride! Jesus, Yeshuah Hamashia is still sending our invitations to the wedding, your wedding with Him! Time is running out. The wedding list is just about filled and the doors will soon be shut, forbidding any last-minute attendants to enter and celebrate. Now is the time to acknowledge your invitation.
Make sure re you have on your wedding garment or you will be denied entrance. Jesus seeks a bride whose robes are without spots or wrinkles! Perfect loves casts out all fear. Jesus said, “Count the cost,” before committing to Him. The cost is high…everything, but His burden is light and His love infinite, beyond our comprehension!
God has a wonderful plan for your life! If you are a women, you are in great company. Jesus loved women. And is using them mightily all over the world to do His work and spread His word. Start rejoicing now in His finished work for you.
Have you oil in your lamp? Get ready to meet Him.