“Do not be afraid Mary, for you have found favor with God.” Luke 1:30
As a woman I think it’s next to impossible not to found at least some of our identity in our outward appearance. It’s drilled into us from birth. We get dressed up and accessorized and then (and usually only then) we hear, “Oh! You look so pretty!” On our wedding day we spend hundreds, sometimes thousands of dollars on a dress, and make-up, a hair dresser and spa treatments to look our very best for that special day. All so that when our groom sees us for the first time we can take his breath away with our beauty. But then within hours, the mascara has run, our lipstick has rubbed off, the fancy hair has fallen down and the dress gets taken off – probably to never be worn again. I don’t know about you all, but my husband has never seen me look that good before or since that day.
My point is this, that beauty is fleeting and that’s not the kind of husband Jesus is. The day you marry Jesus is the day you look the worst. You’ve been drug through the mud, and beaten to a pulp by the Enemy. And yet to Jesus, you are beautiful because you’re His bride. In the Hebrew culture when a young man came to a girl’s house to ask for her hand in marriage, the engagement ceremony involved a cup of wine. The couple was asked questions of their intentions toward each other, their commitment to one another, and then they each would drink from the same cup of wine symbolizing their union and how they would drink from the same cup of life together as husband and wife.
At the Last Supper Jesus held up the cup of wine and said, “Drink of it, all of you, for this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” (Matthew 26:27-28) Essentially Jesus was asking them all (including us) to marry Him. To be united to Him in a way that is characterized by a physical, emotional, and spiritual bond that is more special and intimate than any other relationship in your life. When you enter into the bonds of marriage with your spouse you are giving your entire self to them. And they are giving themselves to you.
This is the kind of relationship that Jesus desires with you. Yes He wants all of you, but beyond that, He is giving you all of Him too!
In John 15 Jesus walks His disciples through a vineyard and says to them, “I am the vine and you are the branches”. Explaining to them how this marriage thing works. He is the source of all their needs. As the vine He brings to them and provides for them the water and nutrients that they need. (Much like a shepherd tends to his flock.)
In 1 Corinthians 11 we find the verses about Christ being the head of man and man being the head of woman. Many people take this verse to mean that woman is to always be subject to man as he is a greater authority over her. Some men use this verse as an excuse to abuse their wives or to hold power over them in a demeaning way. What they fail to realize is the true meaning of this word, “head”. In the original Greek this word is used to describe something as in the headwaters of a river. It is where the river finds its source, beginning and direction.
This is what Jesus is to be for us Yes, an authority figure. But not in a sense of a king to his subjects. At the last supper Jesus didn’t sit back and demand that His Disciples wash His feet, He washed theirs! That was the servant’s job. There was even a moment when Jesus came to Peter to wash his feet and Peter refused to let Him. Only to have Jesus explain to him that “if you don’t let Me wash your feet, then you can have no part in Me.”
Jesus is the wellspring, the headwaters of the river of Life. He is our husband, our source. Like the headwaters of a river drive the river in the direction it is to go. So we too find our direction from Him. We find our purpose and our identity in Him. He is the vine and we are the branches.
What you look like doesn’t define who you are. Who you are defines what you will look like. What you do doesn’t define who you are. Who you are defines what you do. Where you’ve gone doesn’t define who you are. Who you are defines where you’re going.
You are someone God chose. He chose YOU to be His bride, His Beloved, the recipient of His eternal love and grace. He died to save you, He lives to take care of you and He does so because you’re beautiful to Him. Jesus is so in love with YOU, not your outward beauty or even the things you do in His name, He is in love with the YOU inside that no one else ever gets to see. He is in love with YOU. Now if only you could love her too. You know, she must be pretty special if God loves her enough to die for her.
“Do not be afraid (insert your name here), for you have found favor with God.” Luke 1:30
Ezekiel 3:9 (HCSB) “I have made your forehead like a diamond, harder than flint. Don’t be afraid of them or discouraged by the look on their faces, even though they are a rebellious house.”
1 John 4:18 (HCSB) “There is no fear in love; instead, perfect love drives out fear, because fear involves punishment. So the one who fears has not reached perfection in love.”
Matthew 8:26 (HCSB) “But He said to them, ‘Why are you fearful, you of little faith?’ Then He got up and rebuked the winds and the sea. And there was a great calm.”
Jeremiah 39:17 (HCSB) “But I will rescue you on that day” – this is the LORD’S declaration – “and you will not be handed over to the men you fear.”
Matthew 9:2 (HCSB) “Just then some men brought to Him a paralytic lying on a mat. Seeing their faith, Jesus told the paralytic, ‘Have courage, son, your sins are forgiven.”
Isaiah 54:14-17 (HCSB) “And you will be established on a foundation of righteousness. You will be far from oppression, you will certainly not be afraid; you will be far from terror, it will certainly not come near you. If anyone attacks you, it is not from Me; whoever attacks you will fall before you. Look, I have created the craftsman who blows on the charcoal fire and produces a weapon suitable for its task; and I have created the destroyer to cause havoc. No weapon formed against you will succeed, and you will refute any accusation raised against you in court. This is the heritage of the LORD’s servants, and their righteousness is from Me.’ This is the LORD’S declaration.”