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 is himself its savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands. Husbands, love your wives as 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 splendor without spot or wrinkle or any such thing that she might be holy and without blemish.
There’s a ton we could talk about with this passage, Ephesians chapter 5, verses 22 through 33 gives a powerful picture of God’s design for marriage as a display of the gospel. It’s so awesome when you think about how God, in the very beginning, all the way back to Genesis 1 and 2, creating man and woman in his image to compliment one another. In Genesis chapter 2, how he brings man and woman together to form one flesh in marriage, in this picture of covenant commitment to one another. And he did this for a reason. From the very beginning in Genesis chapter 2, God set up marriage between a man and a woman in this way to be a picture on the landscape of human history of his love for the world, and Jesus’ love specifically for the church, for those he came to die for, his love for sinners who would trust in him, the whole picture here of husbands as a picture of Jesus’ love for the church and the way they love their wives.
Marriage is a picture of the covenantal commitment where the husband loves his wife like Jesus loves the Church.
Husbands, feel the weight of this in a fresh way today. God has called you to love your wife like Jesus loves the church. How does Jesus love the church? He lays down his life for the church. He dies for her. He serves her. He nourishes her. He cherishes her. He does all that he does to make her beautiful, for her good. This is how husbands are to love their wives, selflessly, sacrificially.
And wives, the picture of the church’s glad submission to Jesus displayed in marriage and a wife’s glad submission to her husband’s sacrificial loving leadership. Now I trust we know we don’t have time to dive into all the different abuses of this picture of leadership and submission. So, if you want to, go to radical.net and just search for Ephesians chapter 5 and resources along those lines. But I just want to lead us right now to pray that the gospel picture that God has designed for marriage would be clear in every married couple who is listening to this, who knows Jesus.
If you’re not married, for you just to bring to mind, call to mind before the Lord, married couples right now, and your sphere of influence. And then for those who are married to pray that these things would be true of us.
God, we praise you for your sovereign beautiful design of marriage between a man and a woman in a way that pictures Jesus’ love for the church, the church’s love for Jesus. And God, I just pray, we pray together over every married couple, certainly praying right now, others that we’re calling to mind. We pray particularly for marriages that might be struggling. God, we pray that you would restore the beauty of this picture through love for you, love for one another, that reflects, Jesus, your love for the church.
God, I pray for husbands, including myself, you would help us to lay down our lives today for our wives to serve them well, selflessly, carefully help us to do that today. Maybe even some particular ways, special, extra ways today in light of praying through this word, and then to do the same tomorrow, and the next day, and the next day.
God, I pray for wives. We pray that you would help wives to gladly submit to husbands’ loving sacrificial leadership. God, we pray against abuses of that, ways that husbands might seek to abuse that. Wives would obviously have ultimate submission to you, Jesus, and your word.
God, we pray though for this picture of the gospel in our marriages particularly, in a culture and a country that has redefined marriage in a way that goes against your word, in a culture and a country, and places around the world in similar ways that have come up with other designs for marriage that cannot compare to your design for marriage. You’re the creator of marriage, you’re the author of a marriage. God, we pray that you would help us to return to you in so many different ways, but particularly to your design for marriage. And God, we pray that you would help us, who know you, help us to know your word and your design for marriage according to your word. Help us to display the beauty of your design. We pray for this. We pray for healthy marriages in your church that display Christ’s love for the world, that display Jesus’ love for his church. We pray for this in Jesus’ name. Amen.