He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. 2 Timothy 1:9-10
Sometimes God leads me to look deeper into a seemingly obvious and unremarkable word. That happened with the word translated “purpose” in the verse above. That word is prothesis (πρόθεσις) and in it I discovered an astounding hidden treasure.
The word means a proposal or intention, the setting forth or placing in view of something. Literally, it means “a setting forth in advance for a specific purpose, God’s pre-thesis.”1 But the breathtaking thing about this word is that, specifically, it means the setting out of the showbread, the sacred bread. The “twelve loaves of wheaten bread, corresponding to the number of the tribes of Israel, which loaves were offered to God every Sabbath, and, separated into two rows, lay for seven days upon a table placed in the sanctuary.”2 About this bread, Got Questions has this to say:
“The Old Testament showbread placed on the table in the tabernacle provides a wonderful picture of Jesus, the Bread of Life. Jesus is holy before God, He provides true sustenance, and He is always present. “Jesus declared, ‘I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry’” (John 6:35).”3
Do you see what the verse in 2 Timothy is revealing?
Jesus, the Bread of Life, the answer to our hunger, the satisfaction of all our cravings, the very sustenance of the world. Jesus – the grace of God given before the beginning of time now revealed – Jesus is God’s proposal, God’s intention. Jesus is the life and the salvation and the redemption that God proposes. His purpose all along. And this Bread was laid out in the Temple every day, every day. Always there, always present.
But do you know what the most precious thing is that I realized about this verse? The word “proposal” means you know, something else. It means a marriage proposal. The intention, the passionate longing of God’s heart from eternity to eternity.
Jesus is God saying to you and me, “Will you marry me? Will you be the Bride?”
And in that day, declares the LORD, you will call me “My Husband” … Hosea 2:16
… Come, I will show you the Bride, the wife of the Lamb. Revelation 21:9 (ESV)
2Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance
3Got Questions https://www.gotquestions.org/bread-of-the-presence.html
Picture of the bride, detail from photo by Caitlyn Brouwer