“Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour” Matthew 25:13
Jesus shared another parable to reveal some insight into the Kingdom. This time He used the example of Jewish wedding custom. In Jewish custom the wedding celebrations could last for up to two weeks. The festivities would start and at some unknown time the bridegroom would arrive for his bride and take her to his house to start the wedding feast. A group of virgins would wait for the bridegroom and then accompany him to his bride. Once the bridegroom arrived and the feast began the door would be shut and no more guests would be permitted to enter.
In this parable there are ten virgins awaiting the bridegroom – five wise and five foolish. They all go out to meet the bridegroom and take lamps with them, but only the five wise virgins bring oil for their lamps. As it turns out the bridegroom gets delayed and it gets late. They fall asleep and suddenly at midnight they are awoken by a cry “Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.” (Matthew 25:6). Because it is midnight it is dark, so they need the light from their lamps. But only the wise have oil to burn. The foolish virgins now turn to the wise and beg for oil.
“But the wise answered, saying, ‘Since there will not be enough for us and for you, go rather to the dealers and buy for yourselves.’ And while they were going to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was shut.” Matthew 25:9-10.
The foolish virgins missed out on the joy of the wedding feast and days of celebration because they were not prepared. They did not take steps to ensure they would be ready for the arrival of the bridegroom. The wise virgins who were prepared had the oil they needed to go in and enjoy the wedding feast. Jesus’ message to us is that we must be prepared.
For He is the bridegroom, and the wedding feast is when He will return in glory and splendour to claim His bride, the church, for a wedding feast that will last for all eternity. We must be like the wise virgins, prepared and ready for His return. We must each have our own oil. We cannot borrow it. We cannot rely on other’s oil. We must have our own faith. We must each have put our trust in Jesus and allowed Him to wash away our sins through the power of His blood in order to be prepared for the triumphant final establishment of the Kingdom in the wedding of Christ and church.
And as Kingdom citizens we have a duty to make sure others are prepared too. We cannot just be content to have our own oil – we need to make the most of every opportunity to check on others and encourage them if they do not yet have their own oil to make that step of faith and enter through the narrow door into abundant Kingdom life. The wedding is coming. We do not know the day or hour. So we cannot afford to waste a single opportunity, for we do not know if there will be another – we must grab every chance as if it is the last chance, and, through the help of the Holy Spirit, use it to encourage those around us to be prepared for the return of our bridegroom Jesus to start the wedding feast.
“But in your hearts honour Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defence to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you” 1 Peter 3:15
- Are you wisely preparing for the return of Jesus?
- Who do you need to encourage to become prepared?
- Do you have a defence ready for anyone who asks about the hope that is in you?