Maybe the best way to start this is to explain the title you have curiously clicked on.
So I just finished (not yet published) a book called, “I love Jesus but Hate His Girlfriend.”
Let me start by putting your mind at ease that this is not a Jesus conspiracy theory. Jesus didn’t date Mary Magdalene or Martha. I believe the Bible teaches Jesus was busy showing the world God’s character and how He wants us to live, love and find salvation through the Savior.
Later we see in the Gospels that after Jesus died on the cross and ascended to Heaven, days later, the Holy Spirit descended dramatically on Jewish followers of Jesus and later his Gentile followers. The presence of the Holy Spirit in people who professed Christ created something new, the church.
The idea of a church was not new. In fact the word is very common. Ekklesia, the word used in the New Testament for church. It was the word used to describe any gathering of people, that had a purpose. The ekklesia in the New Testament is a group of people then who gathered in agreement on the lordship of Jesus the Christ, as Jesus said it would at Caesarea Philippi,
15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” 16 Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 17 And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. 18 And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” – Matthew 16:15-18
Jesus said he would build the church on the revelation that he is the Christ, or Messiah, our Savior. This is what makes the ekklesia in the New Testament unique. It is not a political or social gathering it is a gathering of people who believe Jesus was sent by God to save the world from sin.
WHAT DOES THIS HAVE TO DO WITH GIRLFRIENDS?
You may be thinking by now, that is all fine and good, but what does this have to do with Jesus’ girlfriend? Well, in other places in the New Testament we see Jesus and John make a very unique analogy regarding the kind of relationship Jesus has with his church.
In Matthew 25:1-13, Jesus describes his return to earth as a bridegroom who comes to receive his bride,
“Then the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. 2 Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. 3 For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them, 4 but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps. 5 As the bridegroom was delayed, they all became drowsy and slept. 6 But at midnight there was a cry, ‘Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’ 7 Then all those virgins rose and trimmed their lamps. 8 And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ 9 But the wise answered, saying, ‘Since there will not be enough for us and for you, go rather to the dealers and buy for yourselves.’ 10 And while they were going to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was shut. 11 Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open to us.’ 12 But he answered, ‘Truly, I say to you, I do not know you.’ 13 Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour. – Matthew 25:1-13
The parable describes a typical Jewish wedding. The virgins are not the brides, they are the bridesmaids, invited to the wedding feast to witness the wedding between the groom and his bride. Some will not get to witness the wedding because their hearts are not ready when the groom arrives.
So who’s the lucky lady that gets to marry Jesus?
Well, the Apostle John also uses the wedding metaphor in his famous letter regarding the end times, Revelation.
6 Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the roar of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, crying out,“Hallelujah! For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns.7 Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready; 8 it was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure”—for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints. – Revelation 19:6-8
As Jesus stated when he returns, he will be returning for his bride. John shows us in Revelation that when the end comes the saints, or the church, will be married to their Savior. The imagery is given to give us some comparison of the depth of relationship we will have with Jesus for eternity.
In the meantime, the church is at best, the Savior’s fiancé, or otherwise known as the girlfriend. This brings us to the point of the book and upcoming sermon series.
We are not in heaven. We are on earth. We believe in Jesus and God but somewhere along the way Jesus’ girlfriend, the church, wounded us or has become less important. Since then we have decided to keep our faith but not the church.
The point of the book and the next few weeks at Anchor Way is to help you realize that as nasty as the girlfriend can be we still need her. My hope is that in the next few weeks you will find some comfort for the pain the church has caused you and maybe a revived heart to give the church another chance.
Someone very important thinks, that she is after all, worth dying for.
Thanks for reading,