Summary: Stay ready for Judgment Day by feeding your faith through God’s Word.
Are you ready for winter? Have you tried on your snow boots to make sure they still fit? Have you taken your car in for a tune-up to make sure your battery and antifreeze are still good and that you have the right kind of oil for cold weather? Although it takes time to do all these things, it pays to be prepared doesn’t it? It’s better to spend an afternoon getting your car ready for winter than ending up stranded in sub-zero temperatures because your car won’t start in the cold.
If it’s a good idea to get ready for winter, it’s crucial to get ready for Judgment Day. Today Jesus urges us to tune up for Judgment Day. He says we do this by heeding the warning signs, and by checking the oil. Let’s find out what that means.
On the Tuesday of Holy Week Jesus told several parables to get his disciples ready for his return on Judgment Day. One of those parables was about ten women invited to be part of a wedding procession. The women were to meet the bride and groom at a designated place and go with them from there to the banquet hall. Since the meeting was to take place at night, the women were to bring along their lamps so they could light the way for the happy couple. Because the groom was late in coming to the meeting place, the women fell asleep as they waited for him. Finally at midnight word came that the groom was approaching. The women quickly got up to trim and light their lamps. As they waited for the procession to begin however, the lamps of five women kept sputtering and going out. The problem was they had not brought any oil for their lamps. What should they do? They asked the other women for some of their oil but were told there wouldn’t be enough for all them all if they shared. So the women with the sputtering lamps hurried off to buy oil for themselves. While they were gone, however, the groom arrived and the wedding party proceeded to the banquet hall. By the time the other women made it to the banquet hall the doors were closed and locked, shutting them out of the wedding banquet. Jesus concluded the parable by saying: “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour” (Matthew 25:13).
Wouldn’t it be nice to know the day and hour of Judgment Day? Wouldn’t it be so much easier to prepare for it if we knew exactly when it was coming? Jesus tells us that it’s impossible for us to know exactly when Judgment Day will arrive. This, however, doesn’t mean we are totally clueless about its arrival. Although we don’t know exactly when the end will come, we do know that it could happen at any time. We know this because the warning signs are all around us. In the chapter before our text Jesus said that earthquakes, wars, and famines are just a few things that point to the end’s coming (Matthew 24). Don’t ignore these warning signs. Don’t think that Judgment Day is still a long way off and that you have plenty of time to learn about the Bible and put your faith in Jesus. That would be like ignoring the engine light in your car. Sure you can still drive after that light goes on, but for how long? Would you take that car on a road trip without first getting the engine checked? That would be foolish. It’s even more foolish to ignore the signs of coming judgment believing that the end won’t come just yet. How do you know it won’t? The fact is this: Christ is ready to return. Are you ready for him?
All the women in the parable thought they were ready for the groom’s arrival, but they weren’t. They had all brought lamps but five of the women had forgotten to check if there was oil in their lamps. Without oil, their lamps were useless – as useless as a smoke alarm with dead batteries (Howard Gleason, CPR V. 12:4, p. 38). It’s no wonder Jesus literally called these women “morons.”
A moron, as Jesus defines it in this parable, is not an outright unbeliever. It’s not someone who scoffs at the Second Coming. A moron is someone who believes that Jesus is coming back, just as all the women in the parable believed that the groom was coming. A moron eagerly desires to go to heaven, just as all the women in the parable wanted to go to the wedding banquet. But in spite of knowing that Jesus will return and in spite of wanting to go to heaven, a moron is someone who forgets to check whether or not he has the oil of saving faith and so ends up getting shut out of heaven when Jesus comes.