You take the most committed, intimate, human relationship...the relationship between a husband and a wife... we've seen Paul says that relationship is specifically designed by God to represent how commited Jesus is to the church.
I want to think about exactly what that means. What exactly does that tell us about the extent of Jesus' commitment to the church?
For starters, it tells us that Jesus is committed to leading the church.
That's what Paul means by calling Jesus the church's head. He writes, "Wives submit to your own husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body and his himself its Savior."
Jesus is the leader of the church.
Now obviously not every leader is committed to the people he's leading. For example, a CEO doesn't have to be super committed to the people of his company to lead them. I doubt Donald Trump loses much sleep when his janitor gets sick.
But Jesus doesn't lead us like a CEO leads his company. Jesus leads the church the way a head leads his body. And though a CEO doesn't have to be super committed to lead, a head does. I'll tell you, my head is super-committed to my body. There's never been a time when my head wanted a break from my body. It's never asked to go off by itself and leave the rest of the body behind.
We see Jesus' commitment to the church in the way He leads it, not in a cold disconnected way like a CEO but like a head does a body.
A second way we see Jesus' commitment to the church is in the way He loves it.
Jesus loves the church. Paul writes, "Husbands love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her..."
Sometimes, sadly, you'll have a marriage relationship where the husband and wife are committed to staying together but they don't love each other anymore. They are just kind of making it.
Fortunately, Jesus isn't just committed to leading the church in a "clench your teeth and I'm going to make this marriage work" kind of way. No, he truly loves the church. And when I say he loves the church, I'm talking He loves the church in an intense all out kind of way.
He's gone to great lengths to prove that.
One of the ways you prove you love somebody is telling them, and Jesus has proved his love for the church by doing just that, telling the church of His love over and over and over again. But He hasn't stopped there.
He's proven His love in the most dramatic way possible.
"He gave Himself up for her..."
And He did this in spite of the fact that she wasn't attractive or worthy of that love.
"He gave Himself up for her that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water by the Word."
Looking at the church all by itself, we might wonder about the way Jesus feels about her. The church doesn't look all that special, it doesn't look all that unique, it doesn't look all that glorious. But if you want to know the way Jesus feels about the church, you can't just look at the church, you have to look at the cross.
You wonder about the way Jesus feels about the church.
Look at the face of Jesus being spit upon. Look at Jesus with the thorns on his head. Look at Jesus being beaten, whipped.
Listen as the criminals beside him mock him. Listen as the crowds cheer out, crucify Him, crucify Him. Listen as He cries out in agony, "My God, My God, Why Hast Thou Forsaken Me?"
Feel the anguish as they hammer the nails through his wrists. Feel the horror as the wrath of God comes pouring out on Him.
Imagine the humiliation of it all.
The Creator of the World, crucified. The judge of the Universe, condemned. The Holy One, treated like a sinner. The All Powerful God, weak. The Beloved, hated.
Ask yourself why?
All for you.
All for me.
All because of His great commitment to the church.