The Resurrection and the Bride

Early, on the first day of the week, a woman is alone in the garden, John tells us (John 20.1). Where did she come from?

Throughout his Gospel, John takes us through the old creation week in which Jesus is bringing the old creation to an end; not annihilating it, but transforming it through his own death and resurrection. John leads us to read his Gospel in terms of the creation week from the first when he starts with those familiar words, “In the beginning....” From there he takes us through the creation week that culminates in the presentation of the man on the sixth day of the week. The voice of God is heard through a strange medium, for it is Pilate who declares, “Behold the man!” (John 19.5).

The man is alone. It is not as if a bride doesn’t exist. But she is an old creation bride left dead in trespasses and sins because of her first husband, Adam. She needs re-creation.

It is not good for the man to be alone. God the Father will make a helper comparable to him. Through the hands of Roman soldiers the surgery begins to rip the flesh of the man in order that the bride might be created. The man enters death-sleep on the cross, and his side is opened up.

The Father continues his work in the burial of Jesus. Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus take the body of Christ and anoint it with one hundred Roman pounds of myrrh and aloes (John 19.39). Myrrh and aloes are the fragrance that glorify the garments of the king (Psalm 45.8). But he doesn’t keep these for himself alone. These are also the fragrances of the bride of the king (Song 4.14). Whatever Jesus is receiving he is sharing with his bride. The bride will be bone of Jesus’s bone and flesh of Jesus’s flesh, and she will also be fragrant of Jesus’s fragrance; she will be a sweet-smelling aroma before the Father just like Jesus.

The sleep continues through the Sabbath day. The man doesn’t awake on the sixth day as in the original creation. This death-sleep takes longer because of the necessity to deal with sin.

But now it is the first day of the week. The man has arisen from his death-sleep, and there is a woman in the garden. Mary Magdalene, the woman, is the consummate image of the bride that had to be re-created. She was the haunt of demons. Jesus had cleaned the house and put it in order, delivering her of seven demons (cf. Mark 16.9). However, without a complete re-creation, the demons that left her would have come back sevenfold had she not been remade through Jesus’s death and resurrection (cf. Matt 12.43-45). But the Father has made a new bride out of the old creation flesh of the man, Christ Jesus, dead and transformed. This bride will be transformed from glory to glory until she shares the full radiance of the glory of her husband.

The church of Jesus Christ is the bride of Christ. We are bone of his bone, flesh of his flesh, sweet-smelling aroma of his sweet-smelling aroma. We were created through the death of our Lord, and we will one day share the fullness of his glory in our resurrection from the dead. We may not look all that great right now, but because we were created out of and share the flesh of Jesus, we carry in us the DNA, the genetic map of the Spirit, that guarantees that we will be beautiful in the end.