Summary: Message regarding some of Jesus’ words about being ready for His return.
Waiting Wisely for Jesus’ Return
May 3, 2009
NOTE: THE ME/WE/GOD/YOU/WE FORMAT IS FROM ANDY STANLEY’S BOOK, "COMMUNICATING FOR A CHANGE."
Before I became a pastor I had the privilege of being the best man in a couple weddings for friends.
For the first wedding, I found out about 4 or 5 months ahead of time that I was going to be the best man. For the other, I found out a couple hours before the rehearsal.
They meant to tell me earlier, and thought they had, but hey. It worked out. I didn’t lose the ring or anything, and they got hitched. And still going strong almost 20 years later.
Weddings bring with them a lot of emotion, especially for the bride and groom and their families.
And one of the emotions that comes out most strongly is anticipation.
As the day draws nearer, the anticipation builds until that awesome day when the bride and groom exchange those vows to stick with each other through thick and thin, sickness and in health, richer and poorer, in-laws and outlaws.
During the time of our engagement, my anticipation of the wedding was marred a bit by tensions between certain family members, but overall I was really looking forward to it, because even with all the hassles that come with planning a wedding, I would be marrying the woman I loved and would be beginning a lifelong journey with her.
All of us who are married or have been married know what that’s like.
And I wonder if you can recapture a bit of that anticipation as you look back on your own wedding preparations? Hopefully that anticipation was toward something wonderful, right? That’s the idea, anyway.
God: Jesus uses a common occurrence in life to continue to illustrate the timing of His return – a wedding.
Let me set the stage for just a moment, okay?
Following typical Jewish marriage customs, a groom left his parents’ home with a bunch of friends to go to the home of his bride, where various ceremonies were carried out.
After this, the entire wedding party formed a processional to a wedding banquet, normally at the home of the bridegroom. The wedding feast was often held at night. (NIVAC)
This is the scene Jesus paints here at the beginning of chapter 25.
Matthew 25:1-13 (p. 702) –
1 "At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. 2 Five of them were foolish and five were wise. 3 The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. 4 The wise, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. 5 The 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. 8 The 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.’
And then Jesus closes with the words we have become very familiar with over the last few weeks:
13 "Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.
In my office last week I spent a good bit of time posting my sermons to the internet, at a place called Sermoncentral.com, where I’ve been putting them for a good number of years.
And as I was doing this, it dawned on me that we’ve been talking a lot about Jesus’ return, and how it could be at any moment, and how we can’t know when it’s going to happen.
So I thought that maybe you might be getting tired of all that, but then thought, but wait a minute – Jesus talks about it a lot.
And if there’s anything Jesus beats on during chapters 24 & 25, it’s the idea that no one knows when He’s returning.
Why would Jesus have to repeat that over and over in this short span of a couple chapters – maybe 10–15 minutes of talking?
Could it be that He was trying to get a certain point across? I think so. I think it might be Jesus’ way of saying, “Get a clue, people! You won’t know when I’m coming back!”