From the 48files blog:
The Bible is an unusual love story.
The Father chooses Israel to be a bride for his Son. His Son marries Israel at Sinai but she never loved him and never does. Time and again the Son tries to win the heart of his wife only to see her run after other men.
Sometimes he leaves her to it, hoping she will see through the false promises of those who seduce her. Sometimes he disciplines her to try and drive home the horror of what she is doing, but he doesn’t kill her because he really loves her (compared with the cultural norm a great mercy). Sometimes he declares his love of her and sometimes he simply tells her to love him. Often he just showers her with gifts to try and win her, even though it makes him look like a cuckold to the nations.
However, as perhaps many of us know from experiences of unrequited love, you cannot persuade someone to love you. You can try all sorts but love isn’t something that you can create in another person’s heart just as you can’t create it in your own. It is called ‘falling in love’ because it is not something that happens in a planned way.
The husband knows the punishment for adultery is death. Jesus sees his wife commit adultery again and again and knows that the patience of God cannot continue forever. But God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit love Jesus’ wife so much that they plan a way to save the woman. The Son will identify with her so completely as one flesh that he will take her place and die for her sins. In fact the wife who has for years acted like she wanted her husband dead, does the murder.
That would be a tragic love story if it ended there, but praise God it doesn’t.
The Father raises the Son, but the widow is an unchanged woman. She needs to be born again – to be given a heart transplant where her old heart is killed and she is given a new one. There is only one person who has made that journey from death to life before and in the same way as he identified with her to the uttermost in dying her death, she is identified with him by dying with him and so being raised with him. In baptism received from God by faith this happens – she is made anew with a heart which beats for him and she waits eagerly for the future day when she will marry him to live with him for eternity.