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Summary: We are used to living our lives according to deadlines, but are you prepared to meet the mother of all deadlines that Jesus describes in the Gospel here for us today; the parable of the wise and foolish virgins? Read on, and be surprised.

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Joshua 24:1-3a, 14-25 Psalm 78:1-7 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 Matthew 25:1-13

Prayer: In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, let these words speak for you, bless each and every one of us Father, in the name of Jesus, Amen.

Summary: We are used to living our lives according to deadlines, but are you prepared to meet the mother of all deadlines that Jesus describes in the Gospel here for us today; the parable of the wise and foolish virgins? Read on, and be surprised.

This sermon was delivered to the congregation in St Oswald’s in Maybole, Ayrshire, Scotland on the 6th November 2011: by Gordon McCulloch (A Scottish Episcopal Church in the Dioceses of Glasgow and Dumfries).

Introduction:

Life is full of deadlines; all of us in here this morning know that only too well. Whether it is to our boss, or to pay our bills, or simply have our presents and cards ready for Christmas, which is getting closer.

We are used to lives with deadlines, so we do not have any difficulty relating to the mother of all deadlines that Jesus describes in the Gospel here for us today; the parable of the wise and foolish virgins.

To some people this parable is designed to get us thinking about the second return of Jesus to this earth, others like me like to think of this parable as the time in which we finally pass on, die and thereby meet our maker.

This is not a pleasant thought, as it is the one event in our lives that we will not miss, but it is one deadline where we must be ready. The question therefore this morning is: are we prepared to meet our maker? Are we ready to look God in the eye?

This is a dark sermon this morning, but I do hope to enlighten and empower you with this parable; as one thing is for sure, Jesus does not want to find us unprepared, and therefore warns us accordingly.

The Background

In this parable, Jesus talks about the end of time and the eternal life; it is a very difficult concept for us mere mortals to understand but Jesus tells a story that relates the point in everyday terms, but terms not from our contemporary world, but from the Jewish world that was contemporary to Jesus and his followers back then; at a typical wedding for the first century Jews.

Let me explain, back then, when a couple married, there was a legal betrothal ceremony first that took place; officially uniting the couple as sort of husband and wife, because the couple did not live together as husband and wife, until later, at some set time in the future.

On that day in the future, there would be a formal procession where the husband and his groomsmen left his house, to arrive at the bride’s home, and then lead the bride and her bridesmaids back to the groom’s home where there was a brief ceremony, then a banquet or feast, and then the merrymaking.

Then, and only then, where the couple allowed to live together; and this was the scene Jesus used in his parable to illustrate his point.

The ten virgins

In the parable there were ten virgins, the bridesmaids, and from our perspective they represented purity; like the purity in us, whose sins have been forgiven by the death of Jesus on the cross.


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