And from the throne came a voice saying, “Praise our God,all you his servants, you who fear him, small and great.” 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. 9 And the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.” And he said to me, “These are the true words of God.” (Revelation 19:5-9)
Advent is a season of prayerful and penitential preparation for the marriage supper of the Lamb and a time of watching and waiting for the coming Bridegroom. In my previous note to the church, I considered what Revelation 19 reveals about repentance. The invitation to the marriage supper of the Lamb is a call to repentance, which isn’t simply an exercise of self-denial and renunciation of sin. Repentance is recognizing and receiving the love of Christ and responding to his love in obedience and faith.Revelation 19:5-9 reveals three aspects of Christ’s love for us: (1) it's personal: he knows us; (2) it’s redemptive: he saves us; (3) it’s sanctifying:he makes us beautiful.
First, Christ’s love for us is personal. John hears a voice from the throne. It’s God’s voice, but the voice says, “Praise our God, all you his servants, you who fear him, small and great” (Rev 19:5). How can the voice from the throne, where God is seated, say, “Praise our God”? The Lamb of God is speaking. God the Son leads us in praise, both small and great, because he became flesh and dwelt among us (John 1:14). He sympathizes with our weakness(Heb 4:15). This is why we can sing those wonderful lines in Once in Royal David's City: “And he feeleth for our sadness; And he shareth in our gladness.”Christ’s love for us is personal. He knows us and he loves us.
Second, Christ’s love for us is redemptive. It’s the marriage supper of the Lamb. The image of the Lamb signifies his suffering and death for us. Lambs are sacrificed and Jesus is our sacrificial Lamb, who died in our place for our sin. The Apostle Paul writes in Romans 5:8: “God shows his love in this, that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Christ's love for us is a sacrificial love. It’s the marriage supper of the Lamb, who suffered and died for us, so that we might be redeemed from sin and death. The revelation of the Lamb on the Last Day is an eternal reminder of his redemptive love.
Third, Christ’s love makes us beautiful. It’s our custom to keep the bride and her dress hidden from the groom on the wedding day, until she appears at the back of the sanctuary. Not so with the Bride of Christ: “It was granted her to clothe herself in fine linen, bright and pure” (Rev 19:8).Christ gives his Bride her wedding dress. Unlike the bride at our weddings, we can't make ourselves pure and bright and beautiful. When we look in the mirror,we see all kinds of spots and wrinkles. Our hearts are defiled by pride,selfishness, envy, lust, anger, sadness, and regret. We can’t make ourselves beautiful, because we can’t atone for our sins. But Christ is the Lamb, he atones for our sins and he makes us beautiful. He gives us the wedding dress of fine linen, bright and pure:
Christ loved the Church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word,so that he might present the church to himself in splendour, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. (Eph 5:25-27)
On the Last Day, he will present us to himself in splendour,without spot or wrinkle, holy and blameless. Even now, he sanctifies us by the washing of the word. In this season of Advent, let us abide in his word and his love. He knows us, he saves us, and he makes us beautiful.