Summary: Being Prepared While You Wait

February 27, 2021

The Context:

Jesus and His disciples left the Temple for the last time. As they climbed the slopes of the Mount of Olives they turned and the disciples gazed in awe at the splendor of the Temple, “Look at how beautiful it is!” they gasped.

In a sweeping motion Jesus responded, “Do you see all this? Not a single stone will be left standing.” And with that, Jesus began his last great sermon, combining events that would unfold in less than 50 years with events many thousands of years into the future.

Matthew 24:36-37, 43-44 - No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. 37 As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.

But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. 44 So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.

In order to help the disciples understand, Jesus told a story:

The Parable {Matthew 25:1-13}:

At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like 10 virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. 2 5 of them were foolish and 5 were wise. 3 The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any extra oil with them. 4 The wise, however, took extra oil. 5 The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep. 6 "At midnight the cry rang out: 'Here's the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!' 7 "Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. 8 The foolish ones said to the wise, 'Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.' 9 "'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.' 10 "The bridegroom arrived while they were gone to buy oil. The 5 wise virgins went in with him to the wedding banquet and the door was shut. 11 "When the 5 foolish virgins returned, they called at the door, 'Open the door for us!' 12 "But the groom replied, 'I tell you the truth, I don't know you.' 13 "Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.”

The Lessons:

The key question being asked by this story is, “Are you ready to meet Jesus --- Are you prepared?”

For ancient Jews, marriage consisted of two ceremonies – the betrothal and the wedding – each was marked by a celebration separated by an interval of time – often between 1 and 2 years {It was the groom’s father who decided that the preparations were complete and the wedding could proceed}. At the betrothal the woman was legally married, although she still remained in her father’s house. The Groom returned to his father’s house to prepare a new home for his Bride. The Wedding Procession was a loud and a colorful event that consisted of a large parade of people. The Groom would make his way to his Bride’s home. Then he would take her from her father’s house and would bring her to the new house they would share. The Bride never knew when the Groom would arrive and so she was always prepared, always living in expectation of His arrival. She’d always keep the lamp burning, just in case he arrived in the middle of the night.

Jesus is the Bridegroom and before He left, He promised that after everything had been prepared, he’d come back {John 14:2-3}.

He also made a couple of things very clear: Stuff is going to happen in the meantime and only my Father knows when the time is right for me come and get you. And since neither one of us knows when that will be, get ready and remain ready --- be prepared at a moment’s notice.

The 10 bridesmaids represent God’s people – those who have accepted the wedding invitation. At first, they are all filled with joyful anticipation….. The Groom is coming!!! Soon!!! Anytime now!!!

But He doesn’t arrive. And as everyone knows, waiting can be exhausting. Boredom sets in and one by one eyelids grow heavy, someone yawns in the corner and finally the lamps go out.

EVERYONE falls asleep.

From outward appearance the bridesmaids look the same. They’re all wearing the same dress --- it’s difficult to tell them apart. The only difference was the oil. The five foolish bridesmaids had made a simple life choice – not to bring extra oil – as a result they were not prepared for the Grooms unexpected arrival and were locked outside the wedding feast.

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