“Blessed are those who have been called to the wedding feast of the Lamb.” (NAB, RV 19:9) At the time of Jesus, the marriage supper was the highlight and pinnacle of the entire marriage rite for the Jews. There were many steps in the formal Jewish marriage ceremony. First there was betrothal. This involved the groom leaving his father’s house, going to the home of the bride, and paying the necessary “purchase price” for his bride. This publicly formalized and permanently established a covenant between the two. (This, of course, sounds remarkably familiar to Jesus leaving his Father’s house, coming to the home of his bride (us), and paying the necessary purchase price (his Passion), thereby establishing an new everlasting covenant with us, his Church, his Bride.) It is of interest that from the moment of betrothal, the bride and groom were legally married even though the rest of the marriage events had not yet occurred.
In the traditional Jewish ritual, after the covenant was established, the groom returned to his father’s house to prepare a place for his bride. Meanwhile, the bride, would diligently prepare herself, including a formal cleaning and ritual cleansing, as she awaited the return of the groom. Then, when things were ready, but at an exact time unknown to the bride, the groom would return for her and take his bride to her new home, according to the covenant that had been established. Vows were then be exchanged, the marriage would be consummated, and the wedding supper would follow. These descriptions should sound remarkably familiar to how Jesus, the Lamb of God, describes his Kingdom and the New Covenant established between himself and us, the Bride of Christ.
The wedding supper lasted a full seven days, the sign of creation. For us followers of Christ, the supper itself is fulfilled as a Paschal meal, the one began with Jesus in a small upper room gathered with his disciples. The Passover Meal and the sacrifice of the altar were united where analogy and reality meet, where the wine and bread of a meal, where the blood that was shed and the flesh that was sacrificed on the altar, are forever changed into the very Blood and Body of Jesus Christ. The sacrificial meal of Passover was not complete until all ate the flesh of the sacrificed lamb. Jesus is that pure, unblemished Lamb of God, who takes away our sins. Truly blessed are we, who are called to his supper.
We praise you Lord, for you have become our Passover. We, who are your betrothed, long await your coming, as we anxiously prepare ourselves in anticipation for that unknown time when we will be called to dine with you at the Eternal Wedding Banquet of Heaven. Praise and glory to the Lamb of God, our Savior, for ever and ever. Amen.