Faith— 11/12/2020

“The Parable of the Ten Virgins”

By Pastor Jerry Donovan

Beginning in Mt 24:4 Jesus provides four answers to how people must live their lives until Jesus returns. First, disciples must safeguard from being deceived by false Christs who will appear (vv.4, 5, 11, 24). Jerusalem and the temple were destroyed in 70 a.d. These events generated false prophets (v.11) who declared themselves to be the returning Christ. Jesus warns his disciples that these people are meager pretenders, because when Jesus returns it will be with unmistakable glory and majesty (vv.27-31).

Second, followers of Jesus must not be alarmed at hardships, wars, and disasters (24:4-14). Because These are simply part of ongoing history and do not indicate that the end is near in themselves.

Third, disciples must remain faithful to Christ in the middle of difficulties and persecutions, understanding that only those who endure will receive eternal salvation when Christ returns (24:9-14).

Fourth, disciples must be sure they are ready at all times for Christ’s return. They should realize that Christ may return at any moment, and therefore they should live constantly as though they expect him to return right now. This is what Jesus means by watch (24:42). Such watching is essential, because no one knows when Jesus will come again for judgment (24:36-44).

But what will become of those who do no harm? Honest, inoffensive, good sort of people? We have here a clear and full answer to this important question. The parable of the ten virgins (25:1-13) sadly expresses the tragedy of experiencing the second coming of Christ unprepared. Read now that parable as recorded in Matthew 25:1-13 of the New International Version Bible:

“25 “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 ones, 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. ‘Lord, Lord,’ they said, ‘open the door for us!’

12 “But he replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I don’t know you.’

13 “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour”

One of the answers the parables give to the question ‘What is the kingdom of God like?’ is this: “It shows up where you least expect it.” In this case, it is the vision of a door slammed in our faces and permanently locked, a door that, for so long, was completely open to us. Every shattering of the illusion of endless time, every reminder of the ticking clock and our mortality is where the kingdom of God beckons.


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