Many churches throughout the world use a Bible reading schedule called a "lectionary." It's just a fancy word meaning "selected readings." Posts like this reflect on the readings for an upcoming Sunday or other Church holiday, as found in the three-year lectionary.
Our Epistle for this week is so frequently used badly I almost fear to mention it. This, however, is the great power of a lectionary, which forces us to deal with it anyway.
Here the husband and wife are an illustration of Christ and the Church. Note the main point in verse 32 is Christ and the Church. A marriage is just a picture of a greater reality.
Sadly, some of our pictures are really distorted. That’s the problem. People look here and take away two partial truths. First, wives are to submit. Second, that’s what Christianity looks like. I want to know how anyone could read the passage in context and get that idea. Then again, I really don’t want to know.
Let’s roll it back and see what Paul says. The husband is the head of the wife and is to be to her like Christ to the Church. What does that look like?
Jesus humbles himself for the good of the church. He gives up his privilege to care for her needs.
Jesus suffers abuse at the hands of his people as he steps between them and eternal harm. It results in his death.
Jesus speaks words of love and forgiveness even when that care is not deserved.
Jesus voluntarily helps his people in their need even though he was under no obligation.
Jesus helps the church so as to make her perfect, holy, and blameless.
A marriage is a picture of Christ and the church. All of our pictures are flawed. But as husbands seek to be more like Jesus, as wives find it easier to follow their husbands’ lead, the picture does clarify.
Make us reflect You well, Lord.
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