Are You Ready? Matthew 25:1-13
Our series is Surprise Endings. Just like many favorite movies and mysteries, Jesus’ parables often carried an element of surprise, a plot twist that we may not be ready for as we are reading.
In the parable of the Workers in the Vineyard, all the workers were paid the same, even though some only worked a short time. Instead of an economic discussion, Jesus reflected, “So those who are last now will be first then, and those who are first will be last.”
In the parable of the Wedding Banquet, the original invited guests wouldn’t come, so the Master sent his messengers out into the highways and byways to gather any who would come. But when the banquet hall was full of both good and bad, there was one who didn’t have the wedding garment on, and he was cast out. Jesus surprised by ending that story with this statement: “For many are called, but few are chosen.”
The parable we will look at today also has a surprise ending. (Read Text) Jesus is asking a simple question … he wants to know… Are You Ready?
1. ARE YOU READY FOR THE COMING CHRIST?
There is an expectation of the coming Groom. Lightfoot: The ordinary lamp was small, so a wise person would supply himself with an adequate amount of oil. Jesus refers to himself as the Groom and His coming refers to a second coming.
We should be expecting the coming Groom, ready as the Bride of Christ (the church). An alertness that Jesus is going to return must be sharp. The virgins who were prepared were called “wise” by Jesus. We need to be living lives of wisdom - being prepared. The Lord could return today! Are You Ready?
2. ARE YOU READY FOR THE EXPECTED DELAY?
There is a dulling of the expectation over time. The Bridegroom delayed … and it has been over 2,000 years since Jesus told his followers he would return. Peter is aware of this when he writes 2 Peter 3. What can cause use to lose sight of the return of Christ?
The fact that it’s been so long.
The truth that life carries many burdens, demands of life.
The evil that exists in the world
Temptations of the flesh divert our attention.
The false prophets who have chosen specific days.
2 Peter 3:3-4 (NLT) …In the last days, scoffers will come, mocking the truth and following their own desires. They will say, “What happened to the promise that Jesus is coming again? From before the times of our ancestors, everything has remained the same since the world was first created.”
Many things can lull our faith to sleep but we should always be expecting Jesus. Are You Ready?
3. ARE YOU SPENDING YOUR TIME GETTING READY?
Even if it became unclear when/if the bridegroom was coming, five of the bridesmaids were ready with enough oil for their lamps to light the way.
Five were not ready (not enough oil) - and they didn’t do what it took to get ready. They used their time foolishly.
Lightfoot: The Foolish virgins were not ungoldly, or immoral. They were not hypocrites. They were simply foolish. They did not allow for the possibility of delay; and when the Lord finally came, they were unprepared.
Can we look in the mirror and say that we are using our time on earth to get ready to meet the Lord? We cannot neglect preparation and also be ready. How do we keep our lamps with oil today while we wait?
2 Peter 3:14 …While you are waiting for these things to happen, make every effort to be found living peaceful lives that are pure and blameless in his sight.
Jesus is coming! Are you ready?
4. ARE YOU GETTING READY ON YOUR OWN?
We are ready to sympathize with the foolish maidens. But there are some things that must be bought; they cannot be borrowed. … The failure of the foolish virgins was final….The one sure way to be ready on that day is to be ready every day. (Lightfoot)
Getting ready to meet the Lord is one thing you must do this yourself. “On that final day, it won’t matter what home you’re in, whom you’re married to, or what your parents believed; your life will stand alone.” - David Platt
When Jesus returns we will be changed in an instant. When the midnight cry is heard, it is too late to do any preparations. Are you ready?
5. ARE YOU READY TO BE WELCOMED?
The five wise bridesmaids were ushered into the wedding feast. That’s where we want to be. Known, accepted by the Lord. Blessed Assurance Jesus is Mine!
The surprise element of this parable, to me, is the statement “I don’t know you”. (AMP: But He replied, I solemnly declare to you, I do not know you [I am not acquainted with you].). One group of virgins was wise and ready, the other was foolish and unprepared. It is sad that these five foolish virgins were left out of the banquet, but much sadder that without Christ we do not have the hope of entering the marriage feast with him. Are you ready?
In chapter 26 Jesus ends this discourse by telling his disciple that he is about to be handed over to be crucified in two days. Jesus is ready to make his once-for-all sacrifice. He desires that his disciples be ready … and live in a state of readiness.
David Platt: “Christ’s second coming should be on our minds and in our hearts, not in such a way that we stop everything we’re doing and sit still, but in such a way that it affects everything we’re doing. Our thinking about Him is not forced; it’s a result of love. What Christ is on your mind, you can’t wait to see him.”
Fanny Crosby was probably the most prolific hymnist in history. Though blinded at six weeks of age, she wrote over 8,000 hymns. About her blindness, she said: "It seemed intended by the blessed providence of God that I should be blind all my life, and I thank him for the dispensation. If perfect earthly sight were offered me tomorrow I would not accept it. I might not have sung hymns to the praise of God if I had been distracted by the beautiful and interesting things about me." One hymn she wrote in 1875 is called “Will Jesus find us Watching”.
One stanza reads
Blessed are those whom the Lord finds watching,
In His glory they shall share;
If He shall come at the dawn or midnight,
Will He find us watching there?
O can we say we are ready, brother?
Ready for the soul’s bright home?
Say, will He find you and me still watching,
Waiting, waiting when the Lord shall come?
Lightfoot, Neil R. Lessons from the Parables, Baker Book House, 1965
Platt, David. Exalting Jesus in Matthew, part of the Christ-Centered Exposition series. B&H Publishing, 2013.
Kaufman, Barry. http://barryshymns.blogspot.com/2012/08/will-jesus-find-us-watching.html