The flip side of the coin is that this serious business is conducted in an environment of joy. It's a wedding, a celebration of love! That is a big indication of John the Baptist's attitude toward Jesus in John 3.
A Groomsman is asked celebrate while serving.
One things that sets a groomsman apart from a slave, servant, or even a disciple, is the fact that he is invited to the party, as much as the other guests. If a guy agreed to be a groomsman at your wedding, and then you caught him moping around, griping and complaining about his duties, or wishing he was somewhere else, would you be okay with that? Of course not, you'd take that guy aside, and say, "Hey man, get with the program! This is the happiest day of my life. Get in the spirit, and let's enjoy this day!"
The fact is, we expect the wedding party to set the tone for the occasion. Smiling faces and the "spit and polish" of the wedding party help the guests to get in the mood too, even if they barely made to the church in one piece.
John says, "The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom’s voice. That joy is mine" (John 3:29).
When Jesus calls us to be in his wedding party, serving alongside him, his first concern is with our hearts and attitudes. Consider: "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul…" (Luke 10:25-28); or think about the dutiful obedience mentioned in Matthew 23:23 that lacked the heart attitude that Jesus expects.
John the Baptist had "that joy" that Jesus was looking for. He was expectant and ready for Jesus' work in his generation. Here's a question for followers of Christ: Do we exude the joy of the celebration as we walk with Jesus? Sure, the Christian life is hard, but we have so many reasons to share the joy with those around us. Somebody said that we need to be doing just that all the time.
A Groomsman brings others to the celebration.
I mentioned before that, as a groomsman, I have helped people to their seats in advance of the wedding. Ushering guests is a common job for the groom's friends. Ushering doesn't mean we just grab anybody on the street and force them to sit down for the ceremony. They have to want to be there, and usually, they were invited beforehand. But ushering welcomes people, gently takes them into a consecrated space, and prepares them to enter into the joy of the occasion.
Jesus needs groomsmen to bring people to the celebration. He needs men (and women) he can trust, to gently guide people to the celebration He has planned. The guests are the "other half," in this case. In the Parable of the Feast in Luke 14, the master is adamant that his party be full, and he extends the invitation far and wide to anyone who will come. That kind of invitation is unheard of in American weddings, but there are plenty of places around the world where one can find absolutely huge weddings. One that I attended in India had 3,000 guests at the reception. It blew my mind.
The wedding celebration of the Lamb will be a singular event, when all the hopes of all the ages materialize in the present King of Kings. The joy and fulfillment will be unmatched. That moment is yet to come, but now is the time that invitations are available. The groomsmen are in charge of getting word of the party out to the masses. (Followers of Jesus, that's you!) Wherever they go, the groomsmen are to share the good news of the wedding to whomever will listen. And the joy in their hearts, the focus of their lives and the care they exhibit in their duties will capture the attention of quite a few people.
Have you told your friends? Have you told someone who has never received an invitation before? Are you showing off the joy that is appropriate for an event of this magnitude? The wedding date is approaching.
A Word to the Guests
Maybe this is news to you. Did you know that Jesus is planning a party in heaven? Not just any party, a wedding party. And this may really be news to you: You are the guest of honor. Yes, it's a symbol. Jesus is not taking a wife in the ordinary sense, but is there a more powerful symbol of forever love than a wedding? Jesus is trying to tell each one of us, that he loves us, and he promises that we'll be with Him forever, if we only say, "I will." He's not going to force you. He's not even going to make you sign a prenuptial agreement. He'll take you as you are, if you'll have Him.