Friends of the Bridegroom

When Jesus was questioned by the disciples of John the Baptist as to why His disciples did not fast as both they and the Pharisees did, Jesus equated His disciples with “wedding guests.”

Matthew 9:14-15 (HCSB)
Then John’s disciples came to Him, saying, “Why do we and the Pharisees fast often, but Your disciples do not fast?” Jesus said to them, “Can the wedding guests be sad while the groom is with them? The time will come when the groom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast.”

This seems like an odd way for Jesus to describe His disciples since the subject of weddings was not even in view, no? However, according to NET Bible Study Notes (New English Translation) which is a great resource for learning about the use of idiom in the Biblical text, Jesus was using a manner of speaking that was natural to the hearers of the culture at that time in describing His loyal followers. Here is what the NET Bible says about this expression that Jesus uses to describe His disciples in Matthew 9:15…

“[This phrase is] an idiom referring to wedding guests, or more specifically friends of the bridegroom present at the wedding celebration (L&N 11.7).”

In other words, Jesus looks at His disciples as being the guests of a wedding from the groom’s side. This brings to mind the ultimate celebration at the end of the Biblical story… the wedding supper of the lamb. Not only are believers collectively the bride at that wedding (Revelation 21), but in the mind of Jesus they are also in addition “friends of the bridegroom.”

We (believers) must always keep in mind who we are in God’s sight…

John 15:9-17 (HCSB)
“As the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you. Remain in My love. If you keep My commands you will remain in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commands and remain in His love. I have spoken these things to you so that My joy may be in you and your joy may be complete. This is My command: Love one another as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this, that someone would lay down his life for his friends. You are My friends if you do what I command you. I do not call you slaves anymore, because a slave doesn’t know what his master, is doing. I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything I have heard from My Father. You did not choose Me, but I chose you. I appointed you that you should go out and produce fruit and that your fruit should remain, so that whatever you ask the Father in My name, He will give you. This is what I command you: Love one another.”

Godspeed, to the brethren!

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