Summary: Jesus is coming back and we are called to be prepared for that return? Those who are not prepared face a finality of judgment that no one wants to face!
Date Written: September 16, 2008
Date Preached: September 17, 2008
Where Preached: OPBC (Wed PM)
Sermon Series: A Study of the Parables
Sermon Title: The Parable of the 10 Virgins
Sermon Text: Matt 25:1-13 (NKJV)
1 “Then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to 10 virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. 2 Now 5 of them were wise, and 5 were foolish. 3 Those who were foolish took their lamps and took no [extra] oil with them, 4 but the wise took [extra] oil in their vessels with their lamps. 5 But while the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept. 6 “And at midnight a cry was heard: ‘Behold, the bridegroom is coming; go out to meet him!’ 7 Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps. 8 And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ 9 But the wise answered, saying, ‘No, lest there should not be enough for us and you; but go rather to those who sell, and buy for yourselves.’ 10 And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding; and the door was shut. 11 “Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open to us!’ 12 But he answered and said, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, I do not know you.’
13 “Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming.
When we read this parable in the context of what Jesus is saying in and around Matthew 25 we can see that this parable is about the end of time… about the 2nd coming of Christ… and ultimately about the finality of judgment for those who are not ready when Christ does return!
This parable is what we would categorize as a simply 3 point parable with 3 characters. Character 1 is the Bridegroom which in this parable represents Christ. Characters 2 and 3 represent two separate groups of people here on this earth…those prepared for Christ’s return (wise) and those who are NOT prepared for Christ’s return (foolish)
Bloomberg in his book Interpreting the Parables tells us that the wise virgins represents those who have prepared hearts and those who are willing to make the proper preparations for the Master’s coming… those willing to serve as called to serve.
The bridesmaids/virgins used a lamp and oil to light the path for the wedding party. There were no street lights to light the way so this was not simply an honorary position in the wedding but theirs was a position of servant and practical nature. They were going to light the path that the wedding party needed to travel…
The foolish virgins on the other hand represents those who have NOT prepared their hearts… these people may dress like believers, act like believers on the outside, they may even come and worship at church like believers, but in reality they are NOT… their hearts have not been prepared by the gift of the Holy Spirit… and they are not willing to sacrifice and suffer for the cause of Christ!
This parable speaks to the ultimate warning we have as God’s creation that one day all of this will end and God is going to reward those who have accepted Him (are prepared), and punish those who have rejected Him (NOT prepared)... those not prepared will be left out…and not able to gain entrance!
Let’s travel through this parable verse by verse to dissect the meanings and what we can learn…
1 “Then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to 10 virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom.
The kingdom of heaven is like… this is Jesus using the simile to demonstrate a point to those He was teaching. Comparisons like this were common in His ministry and teaching as they made simple the mysteries of God to those He was teaching.
Here Jesus compares the kingdom of heaven to the virgins of a traditional Jewish wedding ceremony. Why virgins? Well, this could be translated as bridesmaids as well and it was customary for the intimate friends of the bride to be her ‘bridesmaids’…and it was also customary that these women who usually were between 12-20 yrs old… that they were virgins and NOT married themselves!
These virgins had a specific task in the Jewish Wedding Ceremony and that was to light the way for the wedding processional. There were no street lamps and the darkness could wreak havoc on a wedding party so this job was very important and significant for the party.
Being that these ‘virgins’ were of significant importance to the bride, and that they were given a very important role to play in the wedding ceremony, it was expected of these virgins to prepare for whatever may happen…it was expected that they would be ready and prepared for anything.