Halfway is No Way
Matthew 25 continues Jesus’ message from Olivet and His warnings about being prepared for His coming. At the beginning of Matthew 25 He tells the story of ten virgins waiting for the bridal party to arrive. “The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. The wise, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps” (25:3, 4). It was night and they were sleepy. All of them had lamps but not all of them were prepared for a long wait. Five of the virgins made sure that their lamps had plenty of oil so that when the bridal party arrived they would be ready. The other five were too tired, lazy, or negligent to take care of this detail. When it was announced that the bridegroom was on his way to the banquet, the negligent ones wanted to borrow from those who had been prepared, but that wasn’t possible. The five foolish ones rushed out to buy more oil but while they were gone, the bridegroom arrived. The five virgins who were prepared went into the party; the others were not only denied entrance, but the bridegroom didn’t even claim that he knew them!
The story, or parable, is rich with meaning, Since the theme of much of Jesus’ sermon has to do with being ready especially because no one knows when the Lord will return again, the story of the ten virgins falls neatly into place. Be ready because we don’t know when Jesus will arrive.
But what jumps out at me is another little detail. There was a warning that the bridegroom was coming.
I thought back to the last time I heard a message about the return of Christ and the need to be ready for that event—and I couldn’t remember one!
We “old-timers” have the advantage of at least living with the knowledge that Christ is coming back and could come any time (not that this understanding often affects our lives to any great degree). We grew up with endless discussions on the Second Coming including foolish speculation on time and place! But today’s “newbies” to all things spiritual seldom are introduced to the important information that Jesus could return at any time and when He does there will not be time to get ready. They need to be ready NOW if they want to be included in the heavenly wedding party.
Perhaps we have become too focussed on the here-and-now. Perhaps we have grown weary of waiting. Perhaps, in our efforts to take the sharp edges off of sin and salvation, we don’t really want to talk about the five women pounding on the door and being refused entrance and the sad truth that once Christ returns there are no second chances. Perhaps we really don’t want Him to come and somehow not talking about it will make it not so.
The truth is we have an obligation to warn people to be ready. And we would be wise to make sure that WE ourselves are ready.