Summary: This parable challenges us to make sure we are prepared at all times to meet God. Whether via the Second Coming or at our death, we need to be ready. Not a good idea to be unprepared for His coming.
Parable of the Ten Virgins
Who here likes to paint? Who here plays an instrument? Most musicians or artists have stories of awkward moments when they were performing. Funny or awkward.
The funniest I remember was when I was in a Christian rock band and we were starting a performance. The show was to start with a blast and the lead guitarist had just cranked up his amplifier. But his strap came loose as he reached to adjust the music on the music stand.
As a result the guitar dropped to the ground with an incredible noise, causing everyone in the audience to clasp their ears in pain. He then leaned down to pick up his guitar.
On the way back up his head hit the music stand really hard and his sheet music went flying all over the stage and audience. That was the funniest.
The most awkward performance was one time I was to play saxophone at a friend’s wedding. I was to play a 5 minute prelude and then the music for the processional on the sax.
I just had to wait for a signal to let me know the bride was ready and everything was a go. So at the appointed time I received the signal.
I started playing a mixture of jazz and classical melodies, most improvised. At the 5 minute mark I was signaled that the bride was not actually ready, and I was to keep playing.
Same at the 10 minute, 15 minute and 20 minute mark. Finally at 25 minutes, my mouth virtually numb and totally dry from sustained playing, I was signaled to begin the processional music on the sax.
I probably did ok, although people commented that I started looping, or repeating myself, after about 15 minutes.
That was the most awkward and the funniest moment I remember, and they happened because people who thought they were prepared were not prepared.
I’m sure many of us have stories ourselves of not being as prepared as we should have been. They say that inspiration is actually 9 parts preparation and 1 part inspiration. I think ‘they’ are right.
Today’s passages are all about the second Coming of Jesus. And the main passage I want to focus on from Matthew 25 is about being ready or prepared for the coming of Jesus.
I think I should say something first about the Second Coming though, because it’s not something we have talked a lot about here. Often in church we use the word: “Advent”. It comes from the Latin word adventus meaning "coming".
Put simply, the first Advent, or the first time Christ came to earth, we know He came as a baby in a manger. In just a few weeks we will be starting our Advent services, leading up to Christmas day when we mark the birth of Christ.
So the story of the Nativity and then the story of the Gospels is really all about the first coming of Christ.
When He was here, before He ascended to the Father, He talked a lot of the next time He would be coming to planet earth personally.
In the interim period, He promised that He would send His Holy Spirit, which He did send on the day of Pentecost. The Holy Spirit has been the presence of God, of Christ, to the Church and to all believers since He was sent.
But Jesus promised that He would return one day in glory. And so today’s passage is a call to examine ourselves, and its purpose is that we end up being ready. Being ready for Him ultimately.
But being ready for the return of Christ is everything to do with what we do today, how we prepare today, how we cultivate in our lives a deep readiness for His return.
That’s what we’re looking at today as we look at this parable, which is a response to a question asked of Jesus in Matthew 24:
1 Jesus left the temple and was walking away when his disciples came up to him to call his attention to its buildings. 2 “Do you see all these things?” he asked. “Truly I tell you, not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down.” 3 As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. “Tell us,” they said, “when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?”
So Jesus answers that question in a number of ways, including with the parable of the 10 virgins. Let’s break it down in order to better understand what Jesus is saying.
Matthew 25: 1 “At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom.