TWENTY-NINETH IN MY TEACHING SERIES ON THE PARABLES OF JESUS
The Parable of The Ten Virgins
“At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish and five were wise. The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. The wise ones, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep.“At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’“Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.’“‘No,’ they replied, ‘there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.’“But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut.“Later the others also came. ‘Lord, Lord,’ they said, ‘open the door for us!’“But he replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I don’t know you.’“Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.Matthew 25:1-13
The bridegroom in this parable s Jesus, and this parable describes His return. The setting would have been a first-century Jewish wedding, Normally the groom and his friends would leave his home to go to the bride’s home where the traditional ceremony would be held. The ten virgins were the bridesmaids who assisted the bride; and they anticipated getting to meet the groom when he arrived.
Jesus Will Return
At the heart of this parable is the reality that Jesus will return at an unknown hour and that His people must be ready. Being ready means keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus at all times as we eagerly await His coming.
Everyone in the wedding procession was expected to carry an oil torch, and to have brought with the enough lamp oil for the entire night. The wise virgins came to the wedding with enough lamp oil for the night. The foolish ones, for whatever reasons, did not think that far ahead. When their oil began to run low, the wise women understandably weren’t willing to give them oil. Consequently, they had to leave the ceremony to go buy oil. And why they were gone, the groom arrived..
We Must Be Prepared
As we’re told in the parable, when they returned to the ceremony, the door had been closed. And because of their lack of vigelance in being prepared for the night, they were not allowed to enter.
Being ready for Christ’s return requires that we must be born again through saving faith in Jesus Christ. This is not something someone else can do for us. And there’s no assurance we will be in the room when the groom arrives and the doors are closed.
The five virgins who have the extra oil represent the truly born again who are looking with eagerness to the coming of Christ. They have saving faith and have determined that, whatever occurs, be it lengthy time or adverse circumstances, when Jesus returns, they will be looking with eagerness.
The five virgins without the oil represent false believers who enjoy the benefits of the Christian community without true love for Christ. They are more concerned about the party than about longing to see the bridegroom. Their hope is that their association with true believers (“give us some of your oil”) will bring them into the kingdom at the end.
Waiting and Watching
May we not be found “going away to make the purchase” when Christ returns. We must do whatever it takes to fill our lamp with oil and take extra along. We are to keep waiting and watching with joy and anticipation.
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