Did Jesus offer himself out of purely altruistic motives or was there a selfish agenda involved? Would it surprise you if I told you that the New Testament suggests that it was the latter. According to Hebrews 12:2, Jesus endured the cross for the joy set before him. What joy might that be? I suggest that it was for the joy of his wedding day. Look closely at Ephesians 5:25-27.
“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.” (NIV)
Can you see the romance in this passage? Christ is a lover who must have his love. He gave up himself to present her to himself. Whatever she was before, his love has made her worthy of him. Because of his love, she is holy, pure, blameless, and radiant. In token (the washing with water) and pledge (the word) she has become his. He has treasured her and she has become his treasure. When she asks him, “Why, my Lord, did you pay such a terrible price for one such as I?” His answer will come back, “Because to me you are worth it, my love, my joy.”
Husbands, can we love like this? That’s what we’re commanded to do, but we have greater reason than a command. Paul says, “He who loves his wife, loves himself.” I think he’s saying, that by selflessly, unconditionally, actively loving our wives, we gain the joy of their affection. If we make their hearts our treasure, would we not find the riches of mutual love? Would not such relationships reflect the glory of the Divine Romance?