I know the two don't normally go together, but it is what is happening in our lives this week.
What a stark reminder it is of the nature of our fallen world as the Supreme Court debates the issue of homosexuality and equality in marriage. There have been many pundits who have responded on both sides of the issue this week with great emotion. They have staked their claim (though some politicians seem to be taking "new" stands) and they are resolutely immovable.
My take: The issue of marriage is not one of equality or civil rights, but a spiritual one. To understand the issue of marriage we must understand the purpose of marriage. Yes, marriage was designed for intimacy and procreation (Gen. 1:28; 2:18-25), but it is so much more. I was reading a blog from a friend of mine this week. He reminded me of something I knew, but for some reason it hit home again. Marriage is designed to be a living representation of Christ's relationship to His church, His bride. In Ephesians 5:22-33, the Apostle Paul lays out this illustration of the roles within marriage and how it correlates to the relationship that Jesus has with His followers. The wife is to "submit", or “humble herself” so that she might support the role of her own husband. In Genesis 2:18 (NIV), God made woman out of man to be “a helper suitable for him”. The Hebrew word “ezer”, translated “helper”, is almost always used to describe God himself in His divine assistance. Other times it is used to describe military help, such as reinforcements, without which the battle would be lost. “To ‘help’ someone, then, is to make up what is lacking in him with your strength.”- Gordon Wenham. As the wife fulfills her role of helper by serving and respecting her husband, she helps complete God’s plan for the marriage relationship. Husbands are to equally submit to their wives in their role as “servant-leader” within the marriage relationship. Jesus revolutionized and redefined the ideas of leadership and authority through the lens of servanthood, even to the point of giving up His own life. In Ephesians 5:25-31, He set the example for husbands to follow, illustrated by His love and sacrifice for the church (His bride and body).
I'll just be straight up. God designed marriage to be between one man and one woman alone and illustrates the love of God through Jesus Christ. Any other form of marriage, based on our "feelings" or anything else, is contrary to God's design and purpose for marriage. That does not mean, as some have accused Christians of this week, that we as followers of Jesus are not to care for all people and extend love to those who do not believe as we do. In fact, that is exactly what Jesus calls us to do. It is at the heart of the Greatest Commandments (Matthew 22:37-40) and the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20). But extending God's love to others does not mean we compromise the truth of God's Word for the sake of "equality".
So, what does this have to do with Holy Week? Well, Jesus did not come, live a perfect life, suffer, die, and rise again for our "equality" or "rights". He came to solve a spiritual problem. But, then again, maybe He did come for our "equality" and "rights". You see, the Bible says we are all equal. In Romans 3:23, the Apostle Paul says that all of us are sinners and have fallen short of the glory of God. So, in a way, there is a "standing equality" among us all. Jesus also came to give us "rights". John 1:12 says that to all who receive Him, who believe in His name, He gave the right to become children of God, children not born of blood or the will of the flesh or the will of man, but of God. The message of Easter is that true equality and rights are found in relationship with a living, risen Savior who desires all to be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth (1 Timothy 2:4).