FIRST-PERSON: Preparing for the Big Day
EL CAJON, Calif. (BP) -- That famous uninvited guest named Mr. Murphy (of Murphy's Law) shows up at many weddings, for if anything can go wrong it usually does.
So to avoid unplanned problems, more couples are using wedding planners. Planning for a wedding takes time, organization and effort -- so preparation is the key to a successful event.
Imagine, then, the plans going into the Marriage Supper of the Lamb.
Legions of angels will be present. Heavenly choirs will be ready to sing anthems of unrestrained praise. Clouds will be summoned to reflect the glory of the Bridegroom. Graves will burst open. The bride's eternal home, the New Jerusalem, will be ready for immediate occupancy. The arrangements for the judgment of the lost at the Great White Throne will be readied as the books of the ages are opened. Satan and his cohorts will try (and fail) to disrupt the proceedings. The plans have been made.
In John 14 Jesus told His followers, "I go to prepare a place for you." If we could peer into the highest heaven and see Jesus right now, what would He be doing? I believe we'd see Him seated on the throne of heaven, overseeing the preparations for New Jerusalem and for the New Heaven and the New Earth, the home of His bride forever.
I think we'd see Him interceding for His bride, praying for us as we await that day. I think we'd see Him receiving the souls of those who enter heaven before us, just as He did for Stephen in Acts chapter 7. We'd see Him ruling in the affairs of men and directing the earthly work of His church as the clock counts down to the Big Day.
The perfect Wedding Planner is finalizing the plans for the greatest wedding in the history of the universe. Those who know Jesus Christ are the bride!
That means we have some planning to do, too. Jesus told us to "occupy till I come" (Luke 19:13, KJV). We are to stay busy, to work hard, to occupy our time with what He has called us to do -- populating heaven by sharing the Gospel.
We're to be living with joy because of our coming hope. We're to be caring for others, for as we do something for the least of humanity, we're doing it as unto Him. We're to be worshipping and working in His church, for that's good practice for eternity.
Watch for the Bridegroom
The story was told of a nobleman whose only child was a beautiful young lady of marriageable age. The father invited all the young noblemen in the country to come for a week of entertainment at his castle. Great preparations were made. Strolling musicians were hired, minstrels were engaged and appetizing foods were prepared.
On the day of their arrival, knocking was heard at the gate. It was a deformed man on crutches. A few crusts were thrust at him as the gate slammed in his face. He continued to knock. "What do you want?" someone asked.
"Isn't this the day the guests seek the nobleman's daughter? I've come to beg for her hand." Peals of laughter echoed as cooks, servants and soldiers gathered.
Hearing the noise, the daughter asked what was happening and went out to see him.
"What is it you want?" she asked the beggar. He fixed an earnest look on her.
"I have seen you while I myself was unnoticed, and I love you and have come to ask if you will marry me?"
"Yes, I will marry you," she said as the crowd shrieked.
"Very well," the beggar said. "I will return in a year and a day."
He did return, but not as a beggar. The beggar was the prince, the son of the king. The young maid joyfully became his bride. One of the bride's attendants asked, "How did you know that the beggar was the prince in disguise?"
"I looked into his eyes," the bride said, "and listened to his voice and I knew he was indeed the son of the king."
The Lord Jesus also came in humility -- many did not recognize who He was. But His chosen bride knew He was God's Son. We are that beloved bride -- and one day He will come for us as well.