Ephesians 5:22-33 - Wives, submit to your own husband, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, His body, and is Himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands. Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her, that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the Word, so that He might present the church to Himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of His body. "Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh." This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.
These verses, especially 22-24, have sparked many a conversation within the church—and elsewhere. They're often seen as an attempt to keep wives/women "in their place," as the man lords it over her in rule and authority. But "submit" here does not mean simply to be dominated over or to blindly obey; rather, it carries the idea of "yielding to" or "deferring to another out of respect," as is indicated in the previous verse where we are all to be "submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ" (Ephesians 5:21).
Note, too, how Paul lays great weight on the husband's role—not as commander of his wife—but as one who co-operates with her, caring for her in every way. Paul tells us how husbands ought to love their wives as Christ loved the church—thoughtfully, sacrificially, totally. This self-giving, agape-type love should be as natural and second nature as the concern the husband shows for himself, nourishing, cherishing his wife, "just as Christ does the church."
There's beauty too in the imagery of a man leaving his father and mother to be joined to his wife; it parallels the act of Jesus leaving the Father to be with us (see John 1:1-4, 14, 18; 6:38; 16:28). Jesus did this to take us as His bride, "holy and without blemish" (see Isaiah 54:5; Matthew 25:1-13; Revelation 19:7-9). This is a profound mystery as Paul says.
The message here for all of us is to love one another. As we treasure Christ's sacrificial devotion toward His bride, the church, we more fully realize how we should be toward one another. This is the ultimate example for husbands—and wives—to follow: to "walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us" (Ephesians 5:2a).
THE PRAYER: Heavenly Father, teach us to love one another as Jesus has loved us. In His Name we pray. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Paul Schreiber.
1. Name some things that often make marriage a struggle.
2. Loving someone else as we love ourselves says a lot. How does this play out in day-to-day living?
3. Does seeing the church as the bride of Jesus empower your perspective on the relationship we share with Him?
To Download Devotion MP3 to your computer, right click here and select "Save Link As" or "Save Target As" or "Download Linked File As"