Thursday, April 18, 2013

Tattoo Thursday: Part 2 The Story Behind the Tat

A few months back a really good friend of mine recommended that I read a book. Rarely do I actually read a book. (I am ashamed... but it is true.) Around this time another friend recommended I read a book and even gave me the book. I just ordered the audio version and never even opened the hard copy. oops.

Back to the book I actually read. :)

It was incredible.

The author used cultural insights from the time of Jesus to help explain some of the method and meaning behind a lot of what Jesus' did.

My favorite part was when he compared Jesus' life and death to the wedding traditions from the time of Jesus. This is where I decided to get a tattoo. No seriously.

Let me explain.

The Bible often refers to Jesus and his "Bride". It states that we, people that claim to be Christians and part of His church, are the "Bride of Christ". Have you ever wondered why the heck Jesus chose to call us this? What is the purpose? People in Jesus' day knew why because they understood the principles and traditions of betrothal and marriage.

Here is a glimpse at some of those traditions:

Ephesians 5:31-32 Explains that when a man wants to be with a bride he leave his parents and is united with his wife. And the two become one flesh. This verse begins the love story of Jesus and the Church- us- his Bride.

1. Jesus left his Father to be with us. Jesus left heaven to be born a baby in a manger. Why? To begin his love story- his pursuit of his Bride.

Next, still today some grooms-to-be practice part of this tradition... if he wants to ask a woman to marry him he asks the father of the bride for permission. Likewise, in Jesus' day the groom asked the parents for their blessing to marry their daughter. To show them just how much he valued their daughter he would offer them a betrothal contract. This document outlined a few VERY important things:

  • The groom would document how he intended to provide for his bride-to-be.
  • He also offered a bride price. The groom offered a sacrifice for his bride. The value of this sacrifice, was to mirror the price/value he believed the bride was worth. This bride price not only helped compensate the family for the loss of their daughter but more importantly it was a demonstration of just how much the groom-to-be loved this woman- the higher the bride price, the deeper he loved her.
2. Jesus at the Last Supper (final Passover) shared w/ those with him (the disciples) his betrothal contract. He was to die to "provide" for his Bride. He was providing a way back to having a right relationship with God: Because we sin we cannot have a relationship w/ a perfect God. Jesus offers us the bride price of ... well, his life. (Remember-Jesus is God's son... meaning. Jesus is God in the form of Man. God loves us SO much that He came to Earth and died to show us that he loves us SO much and wants us to be with him (as a Bride would join her Groom). He offered the most valuable bride price out there- His life! In the context of marriage- can a man love his bride any deeper? (1 Peter 1:18-19)

Next... if the Father of the bride accepted the grooms bride price than the groom would propose to the bride. If she accepted his proposal then he would pour a cup of wine and offer it to her. When she took a drink from the cup- she was showing him that she accepted his proposal. From here on out their betrothal was legally binding. The groom would then leave her and (often) return to his Father's land to build a home for him and his bride.  Though the man and woman were not physically together, they were to live committed to one another- as husband and wife- until the day they were together again and could have their wedding ceremony and consummate their marriage.

When would the groom be done with their home? Well, it was up to his father. Only the Father knew when the groom would return for his bride.

3. At this Last Supper what did Jesus ask the disciples to do with him? (Matthew 16:27-29) They broke bread and drank from a cup. In the church, we take communion to symbolize this same action the disciples participated in with Christ. Each time we sip from the cup we are once again accepting the proposal of Jesus Christ. We are showing Jesus that even though he may not physically be with us, we are committed to him. We are HIS until the day he returns for us. Jesus Christ is in his Father's land preparing a place for us. The Bible assures us that he will return again for his Bride- us- but... only His Father knows the day and time he will return. (Mark 13:32)

There is SOO much more to this. I could type for another hour but this is already a long blog post. :)

Here is why I am getting this tattoo...

When I was 19, I accepted Adrian's proposal to be his bride. To me, this was a forever commitment. I wear rings on my finger to 1. show others that I am his bride and 2. remind me daily that I am to be committed to my husband in action as his wife. To the world, this is the greatest symbol on my body of who I claim to be and what responsibilities I have. 

When I was twelve, I accepted Jesus' proposal and was baptized. This proposal and acceptance is meant to be greater than any other  decision in my life. 

On my ring finger, below my wedding ring, Adrian has designed a tattoo of a cup (goblet) and the cross.  I want a tattoo, one of the most permanent ways to mark my body to show the permanence of this profound choice I have made in my life. I want it to serve as a reminder to me that my #1 commitment is to Christ. More than being a mom, a wife, a writer... I am a follower of Christ. My love for my husband even, should be heavily dictated by my love and commitment to Christ. I am to love others, be gentle, kind, faithful, and believe in Jesus Christ until the day he returns for me.

How easy it is to cheat on someone- even someone you love- when they are away. I do not ever want to forget the promise I made to Christ, and his to me. I want to be faithful to this promise I made until the day I die to Jesus Christ. 

Another note, after a bride accepted the grooms proposal it was legally binding (this was WAY before the wedding ceremony). But this contract could be revoked under one circumstance: if the bride was unfaithful. Let us think about this with our commitment to Christ. If you have already accepted Jesus' proposal and call yourself a Christian- are you being faithful even while he is away? 

- Inspired by the book, Understanding Jesus by Joe Amaral.

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