11 Reasons Jesus Is the Perfect Husband

A Relationship with God

How do we carry out a relationship with God the Son? While John Owen argues that we live out our friendship with the Father with his love at the center, when it comes to the Son, it’s all about his grace. That isn’t something that Owen came up with on his own; we often see the grace of Jesus highlighted in Scripture as a particular gift to be experienced on a regular basis by his people (e.g., Rom. 16:20; Gal. 6:18; 1 Thess. 5:28; 2 Thess. 3:18). As believers we have communion with Jesus when we delight in the grace of his person (who he is) and when we live in light of the grace he has purchased for us (what he has done to save us and make us his own).

Owen continues his meditation on that first aspect of Jesus’s grace—the grace of his person—by unpacking the Bible’s use of marriage imagery to describe the way Jesus and his people relate to one another. The New Testament speaks of Jesus as a groom and his people, the church, as a bride (2 Cor. 11:2; Eph. 5:25–27).

Friendship with God

Mike McKinley

What does it mean to be friends with God? Each chapter of this book takes a key insight from John Owen’s Communion with God and clarifies it for modern readers. 

You don’t have to work too hard to get the sense of what that word picture is meant to describe—marriage is supposed to be the most intimate and personal of all our relationships. Owen describes the way Jesus and his bride (that is, us!) relate to one another by saying, “There is a mutual resignation, or making over of their persons one to another. . . . Christ makes himself over to the soul, to be his, as to all the love, care, and tenderness of a husband; and the soul gives up itself wholly unto the Lord Christ, to be his, as to all loving, tender obedience.”1

We would never dare to think about Jesus this way if the Bible didn’t tell us that we should. It is hard to imagine that Jesus would love us this much, that he would give himself to us in the way that a perfectly loving husband would give himself to his wife. But just because it’s hard to imagine doesn’t mean that it isn’t true. Jesus is a husband to us. That means that our communion with the Son of God begins with him moving toward us in tender care and personal affection. He looks at us like a smitten man looks at the woman of his dreams.

Now, if a friendship (or marriage, in this case) is a two-way street, then what is expected of us? You can see why that is an important question. Jesus is always a perfect husband to us; his love and care never fail or diminish. That means that if we are not enjoying a happy relationship with him, we can be sure that the problem is on our end. But what are we to be looking for in our response to him? Owen lays out two ways that Jesus’s people should respond to his love: “the liking of Christ, for his excellency” and the “accepting of Christ by the will, as its only husband.”2 As we commune with him, we learn to see Jesus in all his beauty, and we begin to increasingly prefer Jesus over every other thing in the world. We turn our backs on everything that competes with Jesus for our affection, things like the promises of sin, the pleasures of the world, and the allure of self-salvation through religion and hard work.

If carrying on a friendship with Jesus means preferring him above everything else, then one of the most important things we can do is grow in our appreciation for how wonderful he is. In order to do that, it might help us a little if we spend time thinking about just how terrible sin is, how unsatisfying the world’s pleasures are in the end, and how our efforts to earn God’s love wind up making us miserable. But what our souls need to hear most is not how bad those things are but rather how amazing Jesus is. When we see the beauty of Christ clearly, the pleasures of sin begin to look cheap and fake. The more we feast on his love, the less appetite we have for the things of the world.

How Jesus Is Lovely

To help stir up in us greater love for Jesus, the kind of love that a wife would have for her husband if she was married to the most amazing man who ever lived, Owen gives us a list of just some of the places where we can see something of how lovely Jesus is.

He is lovely in his person. Jesus is the God-man, completely glorious, holy, pure, and full of majesty.

He is lovely in his birth and incarnation. Jesus was rich beyond anything we could imagine, but for our sakes he made himself poor (2 Cor. 8:9). He stooped so far down to become one of us so that he could save us.

There is only good news when you consider Jesus, for what you see is that the most wonderful person loves you like a husband loves a wife.

He is lovely in the way that he lived. Jesus always did the right thing, no matter how difficult the circumstances. He lived in poverty and suffered great persecution but only ever did good to others. He never reviled, cursed, or responded to evil with evil.

He is lovely in his death. On the cross, Jesus “carried all our sins into a land of forgetfulness.”3 This is where Jesus is most lovely to sinners. Through his death he has made his bride radiant and spotless (Eph. 5:27).

He is lovely in all that he has done to save us. Jesus is not just lovely in his incarnation and his death but in everything he has done—his resurrection, his ascension into heaven, and his intercession on our behalf (Heb. 7:25–26).

He is lovely in his glory. Jesus is no longer a poor, persecuted sufferer. He has been raised from the dead in glory, seated at the right hand of the Father, and crowned with majesty. He is a terrifying sight to his enemies but still “full of mercy, love, and compassion, toward his beloved ones.”4

He is lovely in his grace. Jesus, through his Holy Spirit, supplies his people with the grace and comfort they need in their daily lives.

He is lovely in his tender care. Jesus protects his people and keeps them spiritually safe in every kind of persecution and opposition.

He is lovely in the worship that he has appointed for us. Jesus hasn’t left us to figure out how to draw near, but he has given us ways to worship him and commune with him. We have received baptism, the Lord’s Supper, the gift of the Bible, and an invitation to come to him in prayer.

He is lovely in his vengeance. Like a protective husband, Jesus will pour out justice and punishment on everyone who stubbornly opposes him and his bride.

He is lovely in all the gifts he showers on his bride. Jesus gives pardon from sin, a restored relationship with God, peace, joy, comfort, and the sure hope of eternity with him in a world made new (to name just a few!).

This list is meant to be just an appetizer for your spiritual hunger; we could keep going forever, for “there is no end of his excellencies and desirableness.”5 You can be sure that the more you look at Jesus, letting your soul delight in his character and power and kindness, the more lovely he will seem to you. There is only good news when you consider Jesus, for what you see is that the most wonderful person loves you like a husband loves a wife. As great as your sin may be, it is swallowed up by the greatness of your husband’s love. He has committed himself to you, and he has sworn to be yours forever.

This is love that demands a response. After all, there would be something seriously wrong with a wife who wouldn’t love being married to the best man in the world. This makes our duty a delight, for we get to love Jesus, the one who has loved us so wonderfully. “Let believers exercise their hearts abundantly unto this thing. This is choice communion with the Son Jesus Christ.”6

It might be hard for you to imagine, but it actually makes Jesus happy when you love him and delight in him. But it only makes sense, for what husband doesn’t enjoy his wife’s love? Commit yourself to learning more about him and appreciating his goodness more so that you can grow in your love for him. Make that your goal every time you read the Bible or hear a sermon or sing a hymn or pray or take the Lord’s Supper. Allow your mind to ponder all the qualities of Jesus, and increasingly turn away from anything in this world that might compete for your love. Don’t delay, but when you finish this little chapter, take time to please Jesus by telling him how much you love him. “Let him know it from us; he delights to hear it.”7


  1. John Owen, Communion with the Triune God, ed. Kelly M. Kapic and Justin Taylor (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2007), 155.
  2. Owen, Communion, 157, 158.
  3. Owen, Communion, 181.
  4. Owen, Communion, 181.
  5. Owen, Communion, 182.
  6. Owen, Communion, 158.
  7. Owen, Communion, 158.

This article is adapted from Friendship with God: A Path to Deeper Fellowship with the Father, Son, and Spirit by Mike McKinley.

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