Summary: 2nd Sunday in End Time - Saints Triumphant A sermon that encourages us to be prepared for Jesus’ 2nd Coming
Matthew 25 1-13
“At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish and five were wise. The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. The wise, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep. “At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’ “Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.’ ”‘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.’ “But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut. “Later the others also came. ‘Sir! Sir!’ they said. ‘Open the door for us!’ “But he replied, ‘I tell you the truth, I don’t know you.’ “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour."
Dear fellow saints of God,
Just about every house in America there is a ritual that takes place pretty much every school day morning, a ritual that takes place pretty much every Sunday morning. Some of you may be very familiar with this ritual. I call it the "Are you ready yet?" ritual. As the time to leave for school draws near parents begin asking the question, "Are you ready yet?" Normally there are a number of responses. You hear: "Yes! Let’s hurry up and leave!" You hear: "I just need to brush my teeth." You hear: "I still have to pack my lunch." And sometimes you even hear: "I can’t find my shoes!" Eventually, one of two things happens. Either everyone is ready and you leave, or you leave and someone is putting on their shoes or putting up their hair in the car. Many of you I am sure understand exactly what I am talking about.
Preparedness. The need to be ready is something that none of us will ever escape on this side of heaven. Whether it is at home or at school or at work; whether it is in our private lives or in our public lives there are always things for which we need to be prepared or at least things for which we need to be preparing.
In a nutshell, my friends, this is what our text for today is all about: Be prepared!
To understand what Jesus is talking about we need to view this section of scripture in its larger context. In 24th chapter of St Matthew’s gospel Jesus had just left the Temple in Jerusalem and had gone to the Mount of Olives with His disciples. It was there that Jesus began to teach His disciples about the end of the world. Jesus talks about the signs that we will be able to see as the end of the world draws near. In Matthew 25 He talks about Judgment Day when the Lord will separate the sheep from the goats which was our gospel lesson for last Sunday. And in the middle we have our text for today—the Parable of the Ten Virgins.
Having explained to His disciples what will take place as the end of the world draws near and having explained to His disciples what will take place when the end of the world arrives, Jesus here encourages His disciples to Be prepared! To help them understand how to be prepared, to help us understand why we need to be prepared, Jesus uses a very common event of His day—a wedding procession.
According to the Jewish customs of this day when two people were married two ceremonies took place. First, there was a religious ceremony that bound the man and woman together as husband and wife. Then weeks or perhaps even months later the bridegroom went to the bride’s house and escorted her back to his home where they would begin living together as husband and wife. When it came time for the bridegroom to get his bride, the bride’s attendants would wait for the groom and then join the wedding procession—their lamps providing festive lights for the happy occasion.
Our parable focuses on these ten virgins who were waiting for the bridegroom. These 10 virgins represent us—Christians. We are the ones who are now waiting for our Bridegroom, the Lord Jesus Christ, to return to this earth. And while we don’t know exactly when He will return we know that He will indeed return to this earth and escort His faithful children into the eternal wedding banquet.