Monday, April 28, 2014

Jesus the Bridegroom (Lighthouse Catholic Media and Image Books)

I have discovered a new way to read deeper books that has helped increase my understand exponentially. Lighthouse Catholic Media (those CDs you see in the vestibule of your Church) has hundreds of great talks on CDs. Some of these talks, like Jesus the Bridegroom, coincide with books by the same name.  Today, I will be sharing my experience and review of Dr. Pitre's Jesus the Bridegroom, both the CD, from Lighthouse Catholic Media, and the book from Image Books.

Jesus the Bridegroom is a talk that is about one hour in length; given by Dr. Brant Pitre. Dr. Pitre's aim is to explain how Jesus is the Groom and we, the Church, are the bride. He refers to this as "the greatest love story ever told." Why? Because Jesus' love for us is so great that He gave us His Body and Blood in both the Eucharist and by dying on the Cross for us.

The talk begins with Dr. Pitre explaining that the Bible is like a Shakespeare comedy, because it ends in marriage. He informs us that the entire theme of salvation is nuptial. We see Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, married and one flesh. It then progresses to Moses and the Sinai Covenant. Dr. Pitre explains how God used covenants to prepare His people, Israel, for the divine wedding. Unfortunately, as we know, Israel was not faithful to this covenant and committed adultery. However, God does not abandon His wife, but still wants to save her. Thus, a new marital covenant, an everlasting covenant as referenced in Ezekiel and Isaiah, must be established.

We then move to the New Testament. Dr. Pitre points out that the first sign Jesus performs in the Gospel of John is the water to wine at the Wedding of Cana. This helps to further illustrate the nuptial theme carrying over from Old Testament to New Testament. He then takes the Last Supper and Crucifixion and breaks them open to realize truths I never saw before. For example, Jesus never drank the fourth cup at this Passover meal, thus the Passover was not finished until the Cross when Jesus said I thirst. It is also explained how the Crucifixion is the "wedding day" between Jesus and His bride and the marriage is consummated on the Cross. This really was an excellent introduction to the Bridegroom theology, and served as a great starting off point for Dr. Pitre's book Jesus the Bridegroom.

The book Jesus the Bridegroom is a more detailed version of Dr. Brant Pitre's talk with the same name. Using covenantal theology and an understanding of Jewish custom, Dr. Pitre walks us step-by-step through the divine love story of Jesus and the human race. We begin with the covenant at Mount Sinai where God made Israel His people. Then, we quickly and constantly see Israel fall away and break the covenant, in such instances as the golden calf and their constant forsaking of God to follow false gods.

After that, Dr. Pitre introduces us to the key players. Jesus, of course, is the bridegroom and John the Baptist is the best man. But a groom can't be a groom without a bride. This leads to what I consider the most interesting chapter in the book - "The Woman at the Well." Dr. Pitre compares the story of the Samaritan woman at the well to Old Testament references of women at the well. Isaac's bride was found by Abraham's servant at a well. Both Jacob and Moses met their wives at wells also. In fact, Jesus met the Samaritan woman at Jacob's well. With Jesus approaching this woman at the well, he is extending His love to not only Israel but the whole human race. After this we see Jesus establish a New Covenant at the Last Supper, where He instituted the Eucharist with the twelve apostles who were symbolic of the Twelve Tribes of Israel. We see the actual wedding day on the Crucifixion.

This is an absolutely amazing book. I grew up a good Southern Baptist. I knew my parables, particularly the one of the Ten Virgins, and thus I knew that Jesus was groom; we were His bride; and to always be on the lookout for his Second Coming. What I didn't know is just how deep; how rich the theme of Jesus as the Bridegroom ran not only through the New Testament, but the Old Testament as well. My mind is literally blown and I want to read this book again just to let it sink in further and pick up points I missed. Dr. Pitre is an amazing scholar and, I can't wait to see what he has in store for us next!

I highly recommend both the talk and the book if you want to know more about this subject. The talk serves as a good introduction and whets your appetite. The book fills in details that couldn't be covered completely in the talk. To read an interview with Dr. Pitre, click here. For another great talk by Dr. Pitre, check out Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist and the book by the same name!

The talk was provided to me for free by Lighthouse Catholic Media, and the book for free by Image Books. If you found the review helpful, please click here and hit Yes!