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Matthew 25:1-13 Ten Virgins

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.

 

Jesus was trying to convey an important message to His disciples. He wanted them to realize how important it was to live their lives always preparing for His return. He told them a series of parables in the temple court, each showing how little people appreciate God’s preparation for the harvest of the world. Jesus continued the lesson that evening in the garden. As they sat alone in the quiet of the evening, Jesus warned them about false prophets and others claiming to be the Messiah. He added a series of parables to teach them to be prepared for the harvest, and His return. He wanted them to know, they must always be prepared. Not only to prepare themselves, but the world. His parable about the faithful and evil servants in charge during the master’s absence left a mark on John. It reminded him of Jesus’ sermon on the mountain at the beginning of His ministry.

 

“Watch out! Don’t do your good deeds publicly, to be admired by others, for you will lose the reward from your Father in heaven. When you give to someone in need, don’t do as the hypocrites do–blowing trumpets in the synagogues and streets to call attention to their acts of charity! I tell you the truth, they have received all the reward they will ever get. But when you give to someone in need, don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing. Give your gifts in private, and your Father, who sees everything, will reward you. “When you pray, don’t be like the hypocrites who love to pray publicly on street corners and in the synagogues where everyone can see them. I tell you the truth, that is all the reward they will ever get. But when you pray, go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father in private. Then your Father, who sees everything, will reward you. “When you pray, don’t babble on and on as people of other religions do. They think their prayers are answered merely by repeating their words again and again. Don’t be like them, for your Father knows exactly what you need even before you ask him! (Matthew 6:1-8 NLTse)

 

John could see, if an earthy master could return and see the work of his servants, God is watching to a much greater degree.

 

Jesus wanted to emphases the point of being prepared, and how to be prepared. He began teaching them another parable, comparing the preparation of a wedding to the Kingdom of Heaven. “Then shall the kingdom of Heaven be likened to ten virgins, who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. And five of them were wise, and five were foolish. The foolish ones took their lamps, but took no oil with them.”

 

This immediately reminded some of the disciples about the wedding parable Jesus taught in the temple court. They remembered the preparation the king put into his son’s wedding and how little his closest subjects appreciated the effort and planning. They wondered if the same lesson applied to the foolish virgins. Was it a lack of concern, or their foolishness which caused them to act so carelessly?

 

It was the custom at that time for the bride to wait at her father’s house until the bridegroom arrived to take her home to his father’s house. The groom attended a feast at his father’s house, often lasting many days. At the time appointed by the grooms father, always during the evening hours, the groom would begin the journey to claim his bride. As the bride waited through the days and nights for her groom to arrive, her bridesmaids would comfort, encourage her, and watch for the groom to arrive. At the first sign of the groom the bridesmaids would light their lamps, go out and greet the groom, letting him know his bride was kept safe and well comforted. Some of the disciples had their own thoughts on what the foolish virgins represented. Peter thought, how could those women be so foolish? They were chosen because they were the closest and most trusted friends of the bride. How could anyone place so little value on such an honored position?

 

The disciples were beginning to understand the lesson. They began to consider a connection between themselves and the bridesmaids. Jesus was not finished with the lesson. “But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.”

 

For a moment the disciples forget there were two groups of bridesmaids. Now they began to compare their features to the group of wise bridesmaids. Not only did the wise remember to fill their lamps, they also carried an extra supply of oil in their vessels. John began to think about how oil is used in the tabernacle service. He knew there had to be some type of spiritual meaning to the oil. It seemed to be the focal point of the lesson. But what? Oil was used to anoint. It was also used to provide light in the tabernacle as well as the return of the groom.

 

Before the disciples got too carried away comparing their qualities to the group of wise bridesmaids, Jesus added a new twist to the story. “While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept.”

 

This really caught the attention of the disciples. Their thoughts and emotions were swinging from one extreme to another. Thoughts about the foolish group made them feel inadequate. Comparing themselves to the wise made them feel good about themselves. Now it didn’t seem to matter which group they associated themselves with, both groups had committed the unthinkable error, sleeping when they should have been watching. This would have disgraced the bride and her family. If no one welcomed him, the groom would have felt, feeling under appreciated and unwelcome. He may have passed by, turned and headed back home alone, without his bride. Imagine the humiliation this would have brought upon both families.

 

Jesus rose to His feet, raised His arms high, and spoke out in loud clear voice piercing through the darkness, “and at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom comes! Go out to meet him.” The disciples thought for just a moment, no one knew, or dared ask where the cry came from. It was the job of the sleeping bridesmaids to announce the groom’s coming. After the unexpected departure from tradition, Jesus gave them only a moment to think before continuing. “Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said to the wise, Give us some of your oil, for our lamps have gone out.” John thought to himself, why would the foolish claim their lamps went out when they had not taken any oil with them?

 

As He walked around the disciples, Jesus then added a most unusual detail to His parable. “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.” John shook his head as he thought of how foolish those five must be, Not one of them considered the fact it was the middle of the night and the shops were closed. The whole town was sleeping. No one was awake. No one could help them. Before John could consider the two scenarios, the foolish leaving to buy oil, or what would happen if they stayed with no oil in or light from their lamps, Jesus answered the question for him. “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.”

 

John was thinking, they will be waiting hours for the merchants to wake from their sleep. He thought to himself, is there a connection? Before his mind had time to consider the possibilities Jesus continued. “Afterwards the other virgins came also, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. But he answered and said, Truly I say to you, I do not know you.”

 

John was thinking, serves them right. They did not bother to properly prepare. They did not appreciate the time spent planning the wedding, all the details and preparations involved. They did not place the feelings and well being of the bride above their selfishness. Did they expect the bride’s household to provide them with oil? Everything they did seemed to be self centered. What display of friendship did this add up to? If nothing else it showed exactly how dedicated the bridesmaids were to the friendship and well being of the bride. It appeared as if the foolish group accepted the position to enrich their social status and that is as far as their concern reached.

 

After giving the disciples a few minutes to think about the parable, Jesus finished it with, “therefore watch, for you do not know either the day or the hour in which the Son of Man comes.”

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