A. We have been invited, every one of us as believers, to the most thrilling seven-year experience this side of glory! We are to be house guests of Almighty God!!
B. Read John 14:1-6
C. Tonight I would like us to consider the custom of the "Jewish Wedding" and examine how that the Lord, born a Jew, used it to reveal the Gospel.
II. Seven (7) Stages of the Jewish Wedding at the Time of Christ
A. There were 7 Stages of the Jewish Wedding at the time of Jesus.
B. The Contact -
1. The Contract or legal covenant was an agreement by which the young man proposed marriage.
2. Any young man could show up with a contract, but typically, the marriages were arranged and the contracts drawn up by the parents long before the youngsters ever got the news.
D. The Price -
1. Each bride had a price and the prospective bridegroom was expected to pay it.
2. The bride’s father received money, in effect, because he had raised a daughter so wisely and well that someone desired to marry her.
3. This Price that was placed on the daughter allowed the father to recover some of his prior losses, and even make a profit in the marriage of his daughter to a wealthy groom.
4. The Price also served as "earnest money", which is a valuable aspect of any legal transaction even today.
E. The Cup -
1. In those days was for the groom to pour a Cup of wine for his intended bride, and then he would propose a toast.
2. This served also to establish that both parties agreed to the terms of the contract - the legal agreement.
F. The Departure of the Bridegroom -
1. Tradition says that the groom would say something to the order of, "I go to prepare a place for you."
2. He then returned to his father’s house to build his bride a "Bridal Chamber" - a little mansion - for their honeymoon.
3. During this period of time, which usually took between 1-2 years, the bride would spend her time gathering her trousseau, getting her oil lamp ready to travel at night, and keeping her veil on whenever she went out.
4. As a matter of fact, the groom did not know when he would come back! Only his father knew.
G. The Stealing of the Bride -
1. The bride was literally "Stolen" by her bridegroom! After his father gave the O.K., he would go get his bride.
2. Tradition says that the groom usually came for his bride in the middle of the night, to seize her out of her bed.
3. She did not know when or where she was going, and only with lamp in hand could she be led along by her groom.
4. As you can see, this is getting very Romantic!!!!
5. All the Jewish brides were Stolen, if you will, in the night by their perspective grooms.
6. It was customary that the Groom announce with a shout when he was near the bride’s home so that she would momentarily realize that her groom had come for her.
H. The Bridal Chamber -
1. The bride and groom then would go to the bridal chamber and shut the door behind them.
2. The best-man would stay near the door and when the marriage was consummated the bridegroom would tell him through the door, then he would tell the other guests.
3. It was after the consummation of the marriage that the celebration would begin!
4. The bride and the groom would remain in the chamber for seven days, at last emerging for the marriage supper.
I. The Marriage Supper -
1. This is what we call the wedding reception, in effect, a banquet for the newly married couple.
2. After the marriage supper, the Bride and Groom would typically leave his father’s house and go to the housing that the groom had arranged for them.
III. The Gospel of the Jewish Wedding
A. The Covenant (Contract) -
1. The Church is called the "Bride of Christ" in the New Testament for good reason.
2. It is The Church who have a covenant relationship with the One Who forgives sins - Jesus Christ.
3. It is The Church (Bride) whom the Lord said, "I go to prepare a place for you."
4. It is The Church who awaits His sudden and eminent return!
5. Read Jer. 31:31-34 & Heb. 8:8-12 (New Covenant)
6. It is contrasted with the Old Covenant (Law) in which was given to Moses - totally inflexible and unbreakable.
7. The New Covenant is a relationship based on LOVE, not fear - a matter of the heart!
8. Many today confuse our contract - thinking that is only based upon obedience - "I will forgive you only if you’re good!"