Every wedding between a man and a woman is a picture, a metaphor, of the ultimate marriage between Jesus and the Church.
29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, 30 because we are members of his body. 31 “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” 32 This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. 33 However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.
It’s important, especially now, to remember that though I’m officiating, I’m not creating a marriage. Marriage is not something the Church made up or instituted, nor is it something the state established. Marriage was created by God at the beginning of the human race to be an image of the covenantal, sacrificial, loving relationship between Jesus and the Church. The covenant of marriage therefore can’t be created or altered by anyone, but it can be received, enjoyed, honored to our blessing and God’s glory, or ignored and despised at our peril.
The Church and state don’t create marriages, but they witness them. The state enforces laws so they’re represented. The Church upholds the law of Christ and wants to see your marriage flourish as you keep your vows and thrive in your love for God and one another. And all of us here as friends and family are also witnesses. You’re not here just for the cake or the sweet train ride, although these are appreciated, but weddings have witnesses for a reason. We witness the vows Drew and Becky make because we love them and pledge to support them. We commit to care, encourage, and pray for them, and as they are united in marriage, they’re a blessing to us, to the Church, and to the world. So don’t lock your knees and pass out, or leave this place in your mind. This matters.
Becky, ladies first, so I’ll speak to you. Here is Paul in Ephesians 5:22-24:
22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.
Many people bristle at these words both in the Church and the world today because they don’t understand who God is. Jesus is equal to the Father, and yet the Father is the head of Jesus. He does the Father’s will; He glorifies the Father. Far from making Jesus lesser, servile or despised, the Father has put the name of Jesus above every name. In the Godhead, we have equality and submission, hierarchy and glory.
Proverbs 12:4 says “An excellent wife is the crown of her husband, but she who brings shame is like rottenness in his bones.” Submitting to your husband, honoring and respecting him even when he isn’t respectable, is one of the most powerful ways God has given you to make him more honorable and respectable. When you follow and build him up, you’re not becoming a doormat, but you are making a noble head upon which you are the crown.
Crowns are beautiful, but they are not merely beautiful. By them, kings rule. The excellent wife in Proverbs 31 is more precious than jewels. Her husband trusts her; she does him good all her days. She provides for her people, bringing food from far. She runs the household, clearly her priority, but not her confined place. She considers a field and buys it. She plants a vineyard. She makes her arms strong. She opens her hand to the poor and reaches out to the needy. She makes garments and sells them.
You are taking on the noble role of wife today, following in the steps of Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel, Jael, Hannah, and Mary, matriarchs God used to change the world as they were devoted to their husbands. Be Drew’s devoted friend and most edifying counselor. Steep yourself in Scripture and surround yourself with wise people who spur you on to faith, hope and love. Embrace your role and the wonderful responsibilities that come with it. You are the glory of your husband, his most trusted counselor, his sister and friend. Charm is deceitful, and beauty vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. May your hands be full of good things and your works praise you in the gates.
And for Drew. Paul again in Ephesians 5:
25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. 28 In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.
Drew, you are an interested and interesting person, passionate about your calling and hobbies. This is wonderful, and all of it is be a gift to your bride. Jesus gave everything up for His bride the Church, all the way to death, and you’re called in everything you do to bless and sacrifice for Becky. Your interests should never compete with your interest in her, but always be a connection and expression of it.
You provide for her, and she takes what you provide and makes it better. You initiate, sacrificially leading, and she follows, sacrificing herself as well. Every job you take and cool thing you build is not done apart from considering how to serve and love her as best as you possibly can.
Jesus washes His bride with the Word, so you have the wonderful task of loving Becky as you learn the Bible. You can’t be the right kind of student of her, knowing her better and more deeply year after year and decade after decade, without being a student, a disciple, of Christ first. Be regular and devoted in the means of grace: reading the Bible, praying, and worshiping with God’s people. Lead Becky in these ways, making your home a place God is loved first, and therefore people are as well. Give yourself in these ways and watch God bless you more than you could have imagined through her—“He who loves his wife, loves himself.”
In name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, Amen.