Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Weddings and the best man

Have you ever had a moment, where you read a passage and think... 'I didn't know that was there...' I had one of those moments last night. My New Testament reading was John chapter 3. Yes, everyone knows verse 16 - probably one of the most famous verses in the Bible. But what I hadn't noticed before, or else had noticed, but didn't know I knew, was that the chapter ends with John the Baptist's testimony about Jesus.

Maybe it's because it had more resonance, about the bridegroom and the friend who attends him. I have only been to one wedding in my time, that of my cousin Adrian and his wife Rhonda. But next June, I'm going to be best man for Scott Mackey, when he marries Donna Wallace [the plans for the speech are already underway, with the maximum embarrassment for Scott... while the chief bridesmaid, Kirsty is dreading when we dance together]

Anyway... more about that wedding some other time... Back to John 3! John the Baptist describes himself as the friend who attends the bridegroom, who 'waits and listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom's voice'. In the culture and custo of the time, it appears that the bridegroom arrived at the bride's house for the wedding, and that the 'best man' waited on him. This custom also appears to be suggested in the parable of the wise and foolish virgins (Matthew 25).

The best man's joy was complete when he heard the voice of the bridegroom. It meant the wedding was about to happen, and that it was a happy day. Similarly, John the Baptist was the fore-runner of Jesus, the voice crying in the wilderness to prepare the way for the Lord. Jesus had arrived, and so John was full of joy. Jesus would become greater, John would become less.

Jesus himself said that the coming of his kingdom would be like a wedding feast, the marriage supper of the Lamb. Have you got an invite? Are you going to the supper?

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