Monday, 27 June 2022

The Parable Of The Wise And Foolish Virgins

The Parable Of The Wise And Foolish Virgins

(A Teaching On Being Ready For Christ's Return)

Matthew 25:1-13

“Then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom.  Now five of them were wise, and five were foolish.  Those who were foolish took their lamps and took no oil with them, but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.  But while the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept.
“And at midnight a cry was heard: ‘Behold, the bridegroom is coming; go out to meet him!’  Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps.  And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’
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.’  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.

“Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open to us!’  But he answered and said, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, I do not know you.’
“Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming.”
"Oh what a testing parable! It leaves all doubt behind,
A message truly sobering to try the heart and mind.
Speaking to the Christian and those who make the claim,
A call to the professing Church who say they know Christ’s name.

For here we see the picture which comes as a surprise,
Comparing not the “bad and good” but “foolish and the wise.”
A story to awaken us for though this tale is heavy,
We see that when the Groom returns, only some are ready.

Though each of them is sleeping and waiting for His call,
Many have been thoughtless and are not prepared at all!
Revealing any falsehood in souls esteemed as “holy,”
Dividing those within the faith from those in title only.

Oh may we have the courage to heed the truth declared,
A tale with dire consequence for those found unprepared.
Search your heart oh listener, do you know the Groom?
Would your life be ready should those Doors be opened soon?

Do you have assurance that you’ll not be turned away?
Is your confidence in line with what the Scriptures say?
Fill your heart with Jesus and let your lantern burn!
Join now with the Bride of Christ, awaiting His return!"

Romans 8:9
“But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His.”

2 Corinthians 13:5
“Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you are disqualified.”

Points For Reflection And Insight
The lead up to these verses in Matthew 25 talks about end times and emphasises the idea of readiness for the return of Jesus Christ. The parable of the wise and foolish virgins continues on with this focus and addresses the difference between having a true relationship with Jesus to a having a false one.

It’s clear to see in this parable that the Groom represents Jesus and the wise virgins represent His Bride. As I mentioned in the poem, it’s not a comparison between the “good and the bad” but rather between the “wise and the foolish.” The wise are prepared, prudent and thoughtful whereas the foolish are unprepared, imprudent and thoughtless.

All of the virgins are sleeping and in possession of a lamp but the difference is that only some of them have prepared their lamp with oil.
In the Bible, oil often represents the Holy Spirit and so the emphasis here points to the fact that a person can’t be ready for Christ’s return without the presence of the Holy Spirit within their heart. Without Him, no one is ready for the return of Jesus.

This really highlights the point that we must have a true relationship with Christ in order to be saved. There are many who claim to be Christian, go to Church and may say all the right things to “look ready,” but in reality they have no relationship with Jesus at all.
They’ve never committed their heart and life to the Saviour and so don’t have the Holy Spirit dwelling within them. As 1 Corinthians 3:16 tells us,

“Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?”

The Spirit of God can only dwell within us when we have repented of our sin and committed our life to Jesus. This brings us back to the point being emphasised within this passage which is that it’s only those who have a true relationship with Jesus who will be saved.
The parable divides the ready from the unready, the saved from the unsaved, the repentant heart from the unrepentant heart. Simply put, it’s a comparison between the true believer and one who simply claims they believe.

Now might be a good time to gently ask ourselves, have I made a true commitment to Jesus in my life? Do I go to Church simply because I believe it’s my moral obligation to do so or because I genuinely love God and want to be among His people?
If the answer to the first question is no, then now is a great time to ask Jesus into your heart!
If the answer to the first question is yes, then praise the Lord! This means we’ve filled our lamp with oil and eagerly await our Saviour’s return!

If we look at some of the properties and benefits of oil, we can see how this is a good comparison to the Holy Spirit.
Oil heals and repairs, just as the Holy Spirit within us brings healing to our soul. His presence is evidence that we have been healed and repaired from the eternal condemnation of sin.

Oil relieves friction, so too the friction and enmity between God and man is relieved by the Holy Spirit of Christ.
Oil lights when ignited and brings warmth when used as a fuel. In the same way, where the Spirit of God is, there is the light of life and He brings warmth and comfort to our heart, mind and soul.

Oil can invigorate, so too the Holy Spirit within our heart, invigorates us for God’s service! Oil can be applied as a perfume. In the same way, the Holy Spirit adorns our lives and emanates from the Spirit-filled Christian. He helps us to give off the sweet essence and aroma of Christ to the people around us.
Oil also polishes, just as the presence of the Holy Spirit smooths off our rough edges as we listen to Him and walk with Jesus day by day.

Meditating on this parable in Matthew 25, it’s very clear to see that “religion” alone won’t save us, a true relationship with Jesus will.

The parable shows us that when those doors shut, the penalty is severe. Once those doors have closed there is no further chance of redemption. This leaves us in no doubt that it’s in this life that we must prepare. This life is when we must choose.

It’s a sobering message but one with great promise and assurance too. The point of the parable is simple- be ready. The price for failing is too high. Thanks to Jesus however, none of us need fail! Thanks to Jesus, all of us can be filled with His Spirit as we wait for His return! The question is, are you ready?