Summary: This is a sermon that focuses on being prepared to receive Christ.
1"At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. 2Five of them were foolish and five were wise. 3The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. 4The wise, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. 5The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep.
6"At midnight the cry rang out: ’Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’
7"Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. 8The foolish ones said to the wise, ’Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.’
9" ’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.’
10"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.
11"Later the others also came. ’Sir! Sir!’ they said. ’Open the door for us!’
12"But he replied, ’I tell you the truth, I don’t know you.’
13"Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.”
“The Real Oil Crisis”
Ed was a good husband who was always very patient with his wife while she shopped, however… recently they had a particularly long shopping day that even tested dear Ed’s patience. While his wife shopped for clothes, the weary Ed decided to get some rest by hunkering down on top of a suitcase they had purchased… and he used a small cooler they had purchased as his footstool. Another man… obviously waiting for his wife as well… saw Ed, and felt inclined to walk up to talk with him. “Hi,… watcha up to?” The man asked. “Oh, just waiting on my wife,” replied Ed. “Me too,” said the fellow, “However, I never thought to bring lunch and an overnight bag!”
Yep, being prepared really can make all the difference. Just look at the women in our scripture text this morning… 5 were wisely prepared, and 5 were unwisely unprepared… and the five unwise women have themselves a little “oil crisis.”
What do you think of when you hear “oil crisis?” Do you think of long lines at gas pumps? Do you think of $4 a gallon gas? Perhaps you have a memory of driving out in the middle of nowhere, with a gas gauge needle firmly buried below that red… daunting E. for empty! Well, the oil crisis we are going to talk about today is an entirely different kind of “oil crisis” and in many ways it is even more imperative than any of the “oil crisis’” that you and I would know.
You see… lamp oil used to be a necessity. Running out of oil meant darkness… danger… and helplessness. People even used to wear little vials attached to their finger by a string just to make sure they would have some emergency lamp oil if they needed it. On this night, in our scripture story, the oil is perhaps even more important, because everyone in the wedding party was required to bring their own torch. Those without a torch would be assumed to be party crashers or even brigands. They would not be let in to amazing party about to take place.
Five of the women in our story had been foolish, and had left their extra vials at home… they had brought only their lamps. And now… with the bridegroom late in coming… their lamps flicker, as the last droplets of oil are consumed by their flames. As the watches of the night press upon them, their lamps run out of their lifeblood, and the five are left with no oil. None! Dry… desperate… and in the dark… they cry out for help. Without more oil… they will not be admitted to the party.
The other five, even while they were wise and brought extra, have none to share for the foolish five. The foolish quickly run off to buy more oil in hopes they do not miss out on the party. And they miss the procession march to the party.
By the time the foolish make it back… they find they are too late. In a panic, they rush ahead to join the party. When they finally get to the party…they find the doors locked. Desperately… they pound on the doors, they beg the bridegroom to let them in.… however the bridegroom declares to them “I KNOW YOU NOT!” They are left alone… outside… left out of the party.
They are kept out… treated like common party crashers and brigands… because they were not ready when the time came for them to join the party.