Eph 5:29-33 “For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church. Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.”
The scripture says we are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psa 139:14). This is true to the point that we are very careful to keep our body safe and whole. We are created with pain sensors so that we learn to avoid things that would do harm to our body. The brain tells our lungs to expand and contract and our heart to beat so the body may receive the oxygen it needs to sustain life. It sends signals to the body triggering thirst and hunger so that we stay hydrated and our nutritional needs are met. We are wired to care for this flesh as a reflection of Christ’s care for the church.
Just as our physical body has “members,” we are likewise the members of Jesus’ body. Remember that the first verse under consideration here says that no man ever hated his own flesh. Jesus cares for us in a deep and miraculous way. All the things that can be said about our brain’s (head’s) relation to our physical body can be said about Jesus and the church.
We belong to His flesh and bones. He cares for us because we have been made part of Him. In caring for us, He is taking care of Himself. Before someone takes the position that He is a narcissist, do we not often bid those we love to “take care of yourself?” We should rejoice greatly that Jesus takes care of Himself because in so doing He nourishes and cherishes us.
As a result of understanding Jesus’ love for us and the miracle of becoming a part of Him, we are to leave our parents and be joined to our wives. The word translated as “joined” means “to glue to.” I realize it is a popular concept in the world today that we all need our “space.” We see husbands and wives taking extended trips apart and often leading almost separate lives.
May I humbly submit to you that these extended separations are not Biblical: the only reason we glue things together is to make them inseparable. I am not saying there are never times when we might need a moment to ourselves, but this should only serve to make us more aware of how much our companion is a part of us. Christ has made us members of His body, of His flesh, and of His bone; our unity as husbands and wives should mirror this union.
A union such as this is contrary to nature. Paul said this is a great mystery. He also pointed out that He was speaking concerning Christ and the church. We realize that we will never attain the depth of this divine union because we are frail humans. However, because we will never completely attain to it does not mean we should not strive for it. Our admonition from Paul is that even though we will never have a perfect union, we should still work toward having a perfect union.
Every husband should mirror the love of Christ for the church in his love for his wife. Every wife should mirror her attitude toward Christ in her attitude toward her husband. For this to happen, we have to go back to some of the previous verses and be reminded again that this is a result of being filled with the Spirit. Our “natural” union should have a spiritual foundation. It should be held as a gift from God and not just a convenience to the flesh.
May we have joy in the great mystery of Christ’s love for His church, and may we seek to reflect this daily in our union with our companions!