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Matthew 25:1-13 Ten Virgins Story

Posted by adventbiblestudy on January 23, 2013


Matthew 25:1-13 NLTse Then shall the kingdom of Heaven be likened to ten virgins, who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. (2) And five of them were wise, and five were foolish. (3) The foolish ones took their lamps, but took no oil with them. (4) But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. (5) While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. (6) And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom comes! Go out to meet him. (7) Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps. (8) And the foolish said to the wise, Give us some of your oil, for our lamps have gone out. (9) But the wise answered, saying, No, lest there be not enough for us and you. But rather go to those who sell, and buy for yourselves. (10) And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came. And they who were ready went in with him to the marriage, and the door was shut. (11) Afterwards the other virgins came also, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. (12) But he answered and said, Truly I say to you, I do not know you. (13) Therefore watch, for you do not know either the day or the hour in which the Son of Man comes.

 

Habal had never been so excited in her life. Her best friend, engaged to be married, asked her to be one of her bridesmaids. It was the first time anyone asked her to fill such an important role. Coming through the door of her home, she announced the good news to her family. Her mother went to her bedroom, returning with a small, ornately carved wooden box, handing it to Habal. Inside she found the ceremonial lamp handed down through generations. Along side of it was a vessel complete with a snugly fitted cap. The attention of the entire family was focused on the contents of the box as Habal carefully lifted them out, displaying them one at a time as she respectfully held them with both hands. Carefully placing them back in the box, she closed the cover and handed it to her mother for safe keeping.

 

A smile came to her face as she thought about the preparations ahead. She leaned forward to address her mother. “I will need a new dress, sandals, and of course the right bracelets and earrings.” I want the day to be perfect for my best friend. She will be so happy she chose me.” Her mother suggested they set a date to do a little shopping, Habal replied, “but mother, I wanted to do this with my friends, I already promised them. I will need some money though.”

 

A few days later Habal was shopping with her friend Minney. They looked at every dress, running their fingers over the material, holding them up, asking the other how it looked. They were about ready to give up when the shopkeeper, noticing their determination, went to the back of the shop, returning with a pale white dress made of the finest linen, highlighted with silk trim. “This is the finest dress in the entire region.” Habal feel in love with it the moment her eyes rested on the dress. “This is exactly what I am looking for, it will make me the center of the entire procession.” After dancing around the shop with the dress held against her body for a time, she turned to ask, “how much?” The shop keeper answered, “twenty talents of silver.” The price was high, Minney’s mouth dropped wide open. Looking over at Habal, she noticed her expression had not changed.

 

On the walk home Habal went over every detail of her dress, and the decorations she was planning to wear. Entering her parent’s house she announced, “I’ve found the perfect dress. You are going to love it. It is the most beautiful dress I have ever seen.” Her mother and father listened to her description of the dress and her account of the day spent shopping. Her father asked, “how much is the dress?” Habal answered, “thirty pieces of silver.” Minney gave her a cold stare, hoping to attract Habal’s attention. She hoped it was a mistake on Habal’s part. After a few moments Minney began to get the feeling she was being intentionally ignored. She kept her comments to herself.

 

The night before the wedding arrived. Habal was beside herself. The endless preparations were taking their toll, proving to be too much for her. She worked long into the night arranging her dress, jewelry, and placing the wooden box with the lamp in their proper place. She tried to get some sleep, but her mind was too caught up in the details. She had to rise early, bath, fix her hair, get dressed and travel to her friend’s house. She thought to herself, why does she have to live so far, and why is she getting married in the dry season? The roads are full of dust that will get my new sandals, feet and, oh no, not the hem of my new dress dirty.

 

The morning was spent shouting out orders to her mother and other family members. Habal wondered out loud why no one seemed to support her in her hour of need. One that should have been her day of happiness. Once she was dressed, she convinced her father to drive her to her friend’s house in the cart. She did not want to risk anything in her preparations. It was evident she was leaving late. No matter she thought to herself. That way when I arrive, everyone will be there to see me. She opened the wooden box. Looking in she thought to herself, why should I have to occupy both hands with the lamp and vessel. Besides, the oil may spill on my new dress. She grabbed the lamp, shut the box and quickly headed out the door.

 

When Habal arrived the other bridesmaids were already attending the bride. It wasn’t long before they broke into two groups, one attending the bride, the other seated off to the side. The second group swapped stories, each out doing the other in fantasies about how many hours they spent preparing for the wedding. They talked about shopping adventures, coloring their nails, choosing the right jewelry, fixing their hear, how the weather would not cooperate. The first group gathered around the bride, encouraging her, telling her how happy she will be, how blessed she was to be given to such a caring and wonderful husband. They talked about the future ahead and time spent developing the relationship.

 

As was the custom, the bridesmaids attended the bride while the groom attended a feast at his father’s house. A number of days passed. The second group of bridesmaids began to complain. They had not anticipated the expected delay. Although it was the tradition, their inexperience began to show their lack of planning. They spent their time fixing each other’s hair while passing the hours in endless chit chat. When meals were served, they ate very little, trying to impress one another, showing they were concerned about watching their figures. The first group, arrived at the home of the bride’s parents dressed in simple everyday garments. They knew there was work to do. In addition to keeping the spirits of the bride up, they assisted the household in cleaning and preparing the home for the groom’s arrival. The second group, unprepared and unwilling to risk soiling their new dresses, sat, watched, and quietly criticized every task performed by the others.

 

When the day finally arrived, the first group rose early to change into the garments set aside for the wedding procession. The second group bound closer together, trying to provide a sense of empty support, more like excuses for their lack of preparation. Shortly after the sun rose, it was evident the day would be hot. Once again the unprepared bridesmaids grouped together to discuss their discomfort. The other group of bridesmaids attended to the bride. The group of maids, up to this point remaining distant decided they were better suited to perform the final preparations on the bride. They gathered around the bride, sending out obvious signals to the first group, their services were no longer required. The first group of maids quietly waited nearby, helping other family members with the final preparations of cleaning and dressing for the special occasion.

 

Finally evening came. All ten bridesmaids gathered at the gate to watch for the groom. They stood in silence as the watched the sun set in the west. The wise wanted to express their feelings of joy by worshipping and thanking God for the splendid colors as the reddish orange sun reflected off the clouds, and the sky lite up in shades of green, blue, and purple. The foolish once again complained about the heat, hoping the night would bring a measure of relief.

 

After a few hours of waiting, the bridesmaids who preferred to remain distant filed back into the house for something to drink. It didn’t take long for the others to follow. All ten were in the house, taking a short break before resuming their post. Reclining upon pillows on the floor, they all soon fell asleep. No one spoke, as each thought the others would surely remain alert. No one noticed the time as midnight approached.

 

No one knew who it was, but someone raised up a shout declaring, “the bridegroom has arrived.” The ten maids quickly rose to their feet. Looking around they appeared to be disoriented for a moment. Light from the cooking fire dimly lite the room. All ten bridesmaids quickly grabbed their lamps. Five of them opened their vessels, topping off their lamps for the midnight journey to the home of the bridegroom’s father. The ten stood around the small fire. Two of them grabbed long branches, lite them from the fire to light their lamps, handing the burning branch to the next in line. It did not take long for the distant group, the foolish to realize the wicks on their lamps quickly extinguished. Those five suddenly realized, they never filled their lamps with oil. A sad look came across their faces as the realized, the reasons for leaving their vessels behind was very foolish. They shouted out to the other five already headed for the door, “our lamps have gone out. Give us some of your oil.” The five wise answered, “we can not, otherwise we will not have enough for ourselves. Go and buy some oil for yourselves.” Some of the foolish began to complain, “why didn’t the brides household provide us oil?” They hesitated for only a moment, then quickly tried to catch up with the others headed into town to purchase oil. They lost their heads at the mere mention of shopping.

 

When they arrived, they suddenly realized the entire town was sleeping at the midnight hour. Feeling defeated, they propped themselves up against a wall, waiting for the shop to open. Before falling asleep, they swapped stories, each blaming the shopkeeper and others for their predicament.

 

When the shopkeeper arrived he noticed the women sleeping against the wall. He opened his door, prepared for business, went outside, and woke the foolish bridesmaids. They quickly went inside, browsing around, chatting amongst themselves, picking up and commenting on a number of trinkets. Finally the shop keeper gathered their attention asking, “what can I get for you?” They all exclaimed, “oil, we need oil for our lamps.” It seemed this was not the first time the shopkeeper had seen this predicament. His powers of observation instantly told him their need. He set the price very high. They began to barter back and forth on the price. Every time the bridesmaids lowered the price, the shopkeeper lowered the amount of oil he was willing to sell them. Finally realizing what was happening, they agreed on the price, paid the shopkeeper, opened their lamps, and received a small amount in each lamp.

 

After purchasing oil, the group left the shop. Shielding their eyes from the sun they soon realized they had no use for the oil at that time. They hurried down the road to the groom’s house. Along their journey the wind picked up. Dust from the road blew all around them, blurring their vision and stinging their skin. At times the wind was so fierce they could hardly tell where they were going. They clung to one another for safety.

 

The dust was so thick they hardly noticed the storm clouds gathering overhead. Without warning lightening lite the sky, thunder crashed, and it began to pour rain like they had never seen. They began to cry as they looked at one another. Their make up and hair immediately ran down. Their clothes were soaked. One of them lost a sandal in the mud. The others pulled her along, not giving her the opportunity to look for it in the muddy water. At last they reached the bridegroom’s house.

 

They immediately knocked on the door, making as much noise as they could. An attendant opened the door. They asked for entry, the attendant asked them to wait outside. Arriving at the door the bridegroom hesitated for a while. He could hear them through the door left opened just a little bit. They poured blame on one another faster then the driving rain. Habal was so disgusted, she pushed one of her friends down into the mud. On the way down she grabbed onto another, they both fell. The two got up and went after Habal. Before long all five foolish bridesmaids were fighting, rolling in the mud, shouting insults at one another. The bridegroom opened the door. Looking upon the scene he watched the five rolling on the ground, covered in mud. It took them a moment to recognize the figure standing at the door. They shouted, “Lord, let us in.” He had no other words for them but, “Truly I say to you, I do not know you..”

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