The Ten Virgins
Jesus told two well-known parables in Matthew 25 and both of them pertained to preparation and responsibilities in relation to His second coming. The bible tells us that this parable put forth by Jesus concerns ten virgins and their behavior towards the coming of the bridegroom which is a metaphor for Jesus’ own second coming. The virgins in this story symbolize the individual Christians and individual human beings as a whole. With this in mind, Jesus begins by telling us there were 5 foolish virgins and 5 wise virgins. That they are described as foolish and wise is indicative of the decisions they made. Jesus discusses the foolish virgins first by describing them as having lamps but taking no oil with them. The fact that they took no oil indicates laziness, pride and the assumption that they knew when the bridegroom was going to come.
Jesus tell us that the bridegroom delayed and all the virgins fell asleep. But there came a shout at midnight and the foolish virgins only then realized they did not have enough oil. As a last-ditch effort, they try to get some from the dealers and as they return it is too late since the bridegroom has arrived and the doors to the wedding feast is shut. These 5 foolish virgins may symbolize unfaithful Christians, half-hearted disciples and the so-called religious people of the world. These are those who believe they will get to Heaven by showing up to services on Sunday morning to warm the pews. These are those who may be at services on Wednesday and Sunday but they make no concerted effort outside of that to be a faithful disciple to Christ.
These virgins assume a relationship with Jesus which is really non-existent. They make no effort to fuel their fire and yet their hope is to get into the wedding feast. Friends, pilot lights aren’t gonna cut it! Jesus is looking for people who will fan the flame, shine their lights and do whatever it takes to be ready; to be at the wedding feast (Lk. 9:23; 14:27). God has blessed us richly and given us all the tools we need to be prepared for His return. He has given us His word and His principles and the ball is in our court. We need to make an informed decision and put in the work. If we think we’re going to get to Heaven by sitting around doing nothing and scrambling at the last minute, we are in for a rude awakening like these foolish virgins.
On the other side of the spectrum, the wise virgins are doing exactly what they are commissioned to. Unlike the foolish virgins, these wise ones to do presume to know when the bridegroom is coming. They don’t set expectations that cannot be met but instead they simply prepare in the event that he is delayed. They took their lamps but unlike the foolish virgins, they took extra oil with them. For these wise virgins, preparation is everything and it’s another part of the life they live for Christ since He is truly their Lord. These wise virgins long for the day He returns.
The wise virgins who symbolize the faithful disciples, do not sit around and assume a relationship with God that may be non-existent. They know the ball is in their court and the pick it up and run to the other end to make it count. They put in the work (Eph. 5:15-17; 1 Pet. 1:13). They suffer, they sacrifice and they serve. These wise virgins are further proved prudent by the response the give to their foolish companions. They advise them that they cannot give them their oil lest there be none for them. It’s not that they’re selfish and don’t want to share but instead they understand the nature of salvation and faith. Faithful disciples will do as these virgins did. They will advise and offer as much help as they can but they will also encourage them to grow their own faith, make the necessary changes and do what it takes as long as they have opportunity. We ought not to be pushovers but instead we must be those who motivate others towards spiritual makeovers. When the bridegroom returned, the 5 virgins who were ready, entered the feast with him and they were blessed and able to partake of the festivities.
They were ready because their lamp was shining. They made sure they had enough oil to keep the fire going. When Jesus returns, He will take notice of those whose lamps are burning brightly. Those are the ones who will enter the feast with Him (Lk. 12:35-38; 1 Pet. 3:15).Jesus told the parable of the wedding feast in Matt. 22 in which a certain individual had to be kicked out because he was not clothe with the proper attire. While the attire isn’t specified there, we know from Gal. 3:27 that the clothing is to put on Christ. If we do not clothe ourselves with Christ, we will not get into the wedding feast.
If we do not submit to Christ, be wise, redeem the time and know what the will of the Lord is the doors will be shut and we will not get in. The parable of the wedding feast is connected to the parable of the ten virgins because of the nature of the preparation involved. We know those who get into the feast (Heaven) are those who are ready, those who have prepared. Jesus says, many are called but few are chosen. Only a few people have what it takes. Are we willing to suffer, are we willing to sacrifice, are we willing to be honest with ourselves and make the necessary changes to be ready? No one knows the day or hour Jesus will return but He is coming back (2 Pet. 3:9)! Be on the alert! Be ready!