An end times parable
Published 11:44 am Wednesday, March 30, 2016
Matthew 25 contains a parable that Jesus told concerning his return. We saw last time that Matthew 24 focuses on Jesus’ return and the events surrounding it. That same focus is present throughout Matthew 25. Jesus is getting ready to go to the cross. He will be leaving His disciples soon. Therefore, He does what any good leader would do — prepare His followers for the time when He would not be with them anymore.
As we know, Jesus often taught with parables. This occasion was no different. He tells a parable about ten virgins. It is important to remember at the outset that we cannot derive meaning from parables that was not intended by Jesus. Jesus is not condoning or recommending polygamy. He is merely illustrating His relationship to His church when He returns.
So, as we read the parable, we should note that Jesus is the bridegroom. We should also recognize that the virgins represent those who claim to follow Christ. Jesus uses the imagery of a wedding feast because this is the picture He presents throughout the New Testament concerning His relationship to His church. He is the bridegroom. The church is His bride. Revelation 19 tells us of a marriage supper one day where the Lamb of God (Jesus) and all the redeemed (the church) will be present.
So, Jesus tells this parable about 10 virgins who each took a lamp with them to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were wise, and five of them were foolish. The five wise virgins took oil with them to keep their lamps burning. The five foolish virgins did not bring any oil.
Jesus tells us that the bridegroom was delayed. He doesn’t mean to communicate that his coming is any later than planned, only that it is later than the virgins might have expected. You see the connection between our waiting for Jesus’ return and these virgins waiting for the bridegroom. Jesus has not come as soon as we might expect Him, but He will come.
The virgins slept and waited for the bridegroom to come. When He did, they were awakened by a loud cry. They quickly jumped up and trimmed their lamps. But the foolish five didn’t have any oil to put in their lamps. And the wise five had only enough for their lamps. Thus when it came time to meet the bridegroom, only the wise five were able to go into Him. The foolish five did not get to join the feast because they were not prepared.
Jesus is calling His disciples to prepare themselves for His return. Though they didn’t know it, they would not be present on earth when He returned. But they needed to prepare themselves and know how to prepare others. Much of the New Testament is about preparing for the return of Jesus.
How do we prepare for Christ’s return? We must be about the things that He has told us to be about. We should be growing in Christ-likeness. As time passes, we should become more and more conformed to the image of Jesus. We should also be living our lives in faithfulness to Jesus’ command to make disciples. Through doing these things, we can make sure that we are prepared when Christ returns.
The message of this parable is not to tell you when Christ will return. The truth found here is that He will return. You are left to answer whether or not you will be ready.
Adam Blosser is the pastor of Drakes Branch Baptist Church. He can be reached at email@example.com.