The Parable of the Ten Virgins (Matthew 25:1-13)     

 

This story as narrated by Jesus Christ is part of the sequence of parables in response to the question of His disciples in regards to the signs of the end of age.

As per Matthew 24:3 “As he sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?”

And in reply, Jesus told the lesson of the fig tree, the parable of the talents, and this Parable of the ten virgins.

This parable is another glimpse of the kingdom of heaven. This illustrates as to how we will all be waiting for that day when Jesus will fling wide the heavenly gates to open and welcome us.

___

Matthew 25:1 “Then the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom.
The Torchbearers- In modern times, this refers to the bridesmaids or entourage of the wedding ceremony. For this story, the virgins represent the believers who follow Jesus Christ once they accept Him as their Lord and Saviour and believe on the coming of the end of age also known as the Second Coming.

  • There is also no mentioning of bride just the groom, hence noting that emphasis is placed on Jesus Christ and not anyone else. We are followers and disciples of one Almighty God and our expectations all rely on Him and Him only.


Matthew 25:2 Five of them were foolish, and five were wise.

  • Again there is classification, there is categorisation. Somehow, this particular phrase is a gentle reminder that indeed our God is a God of order and not of chaos. Paul tells the Corinthians, “Let all things be done decently and in order” (I Cor.14:40). And also in 1 Corinthians 14:33 “ For God is not a God of disorder but of peace–as in all the congregations of the Lord’s people.”


Matthew 25:3-4 For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them, but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps.

  • This is not an ordinary wedding. Normally, weddings are held on daytime, but the couple for this wedding chose it to be on night time requiring the virgins to bring their lamps
  • This highlights the lack of preparation of the foolish! For this story, we know that oil is the essential element for the provision of light. This is similar to a fuel for a car to still move or battery to our mobile phones.

-This also differentiated the foolish from the wise, with the latter wise being ready and equipped, ready should the resources, in this case..oil should get all exhausted.

Matthew 25:5   As the bridegroom was delayed, they all became drowsy and slept.
-All of them felt drowsy and not just the foolish… It does not mean it’s not allowed to sleep. They are all exhausted perhaps from waiting so they slept and they were not reprimanded for it. There was no mentioning of the host getting furious and disciplining or urging them to stay awake.

There is a time for everything. As per Ecclesiastes 3:1 “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven” This is a time for them to rest and to recharge. This equates to recharging our souls and physical beings. And there is a time allotted for it.

-The bridegroom was delayed, he might not really be delayed but it is his timing preference. He is the groom after all, the main purpose of the existence of the wedding ceremony or that event, alongside with the bride.

-On the other hand, if only all the 10 virgins have energized themselves, they should have stayed awake all throughout the night until the coming of the groom. Why? The answer is in Matthew 24:42 Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming.

To keep on waiting, to keep alert, to keep still. You will surely find favours in God’s eyes with your persevering heart and patient spirit. Although they were not reprimanded for it, still the ideal thing that they should have done is wait upon the Lord, eyes wide open demonstrating also their respect towards God’s authority and His power.

Matthew 25:6    But at midnight there was a cry, ‘Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him. ’
-It’s special occasion indeed! The second coming is compared to a celebration, a rejoicing to welcome Jesus Christ as He welcomes us, as well into His Kingdom.

  • The groom returned during the midnight. This depicts the unpredictable timing. He will surely come but as to when, no one knows! As per 1 Thessalonians 5:2 “For you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night”

Matthew 25:7 Then all those virgins rose and trimmed their lamps.
All ladies now have been alert and awake with big anticipation for the coming groom. Same with us here. The day will surely come and we are all anticipating for it. But whether your souls, our spirits are ready or not, that’s a different question. We should bear in mind that it’s not the physical body which will dwell in heaven or which will burn in hell for eternity. Genesis 3:19….until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.”

 Jude 1:21 keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life

Matthew 25:8 And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.
This group (foolish) is aware that the other group (wise) had more than enough. While they are waiting, no one considered going back to bring extra or ask for an extra so that they will know right there and then the answer or if the request can be accommodated. Too late for them!

In life, we oftentimes do the exact thing. Wait for the last minute before we act upon anything. We seek for the cure rather than putting in place preventive measures. Or we rather do a bandaid approach in fixing stuff than ensuring that we are equipped with all the critical requirements\necessities from the very beginning.

We need to be sensitive with what we need. In this parable, these essentials pertain to spiritual needs. To listen to the craving of our spirit for the Word of God… To continuously feed it, as we wait for the day when He will carry our souls away. We are expected to be ready with our torches\lamps with extra oil in them and to have them burning like our spirits as we anticipate His coming. As the song goes: And I will keep Your flame burning in the night , And I’ll be waiting here for You, watching for all Your signs.

Matthew 25:9 But the wise answered, saying, ‘Since there will not be enough for us and for you, go rather to the dealers and buy for yourselves.
In Thessalonians, it is mentioned that even though that the day will come like a thief, the children of God has nothing to be anxious about. Because they are prepared!! They have anticipated the consequences and have developed a backup plan for it.
1 Thessalonians 5:4-5 But you are not in darkness, brothers, for that day to surprise you like a thief.
For you are all children of light, children of the day. We are not of the night or of the darkness.

Our minds are warned to be ready with the Scriptures. We are reminded to always put on the whole armor of God. Ephesians 6:10-11  Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.
Matthew 25:10-11 And while they were going to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was shut. Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open to us. ’
Also this somehow reminds me of the story of Lazarus and the rich man.
Luke 16:25 But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that you in your lifetime received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner bad things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in anguish.   And we hear the rest of the story of the man begging Abraham to send him back to his father’s house so he can warn his brothers so they won’t know longer come to that place of torment. Abraham didn’t allow him to.

Truly enough, regrets always come at the end. There is no such thing as regretting in the beginning. In the parable, the door was shut and they were no longer allowed to enter. There’s no second chance, there is no questioning of why this and that. They were not present when the groom arrived and that’s it..period. No amount of excuse or reasoning will get them through again. This also proves how extra-ordinary this wedding is. If it is just a simple, ordinary wedding, they will surely be welcomed again in the event, no reluctance but the gate will simply be re-opened for them.

In our judgement day, that will also be case. Whatever we have done, will either be taken against us or will exalt us. For the unpleasant deeds or unholy thoughts, anything that is not of God’s, there won’t be a chance for us to explain our sides. You did what you’ve done!

God knows our inner most thought and emotions, anyway. There’s no need for us to elaborate and take a stand ‘coz everything has been documented, recorded, ready to be unravelled anytime. It might be too late!

Matthew 25:12 But he answered, ‘Truly, I say to you, I do not know you. ’
It’s all about consistency, coupled with sincerity of the heart and kept faith. It does not matter who commenced first or who stepped up first in their Christian walk. What matters most is who has finished the race.   1 Corinthians 9:24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it.

2 Timothy 4:7-8 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.

Matthew 25:13 Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.

Again the last statement is taken both as a warning. The parable was ended again with this reminder or a warning to keep awake and alert. To always be watchful and be vigilant in all circumstances.

Matthew 24:44 Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.

This has always been termed as the ‘rapture’ by various religions and denominations. No one knows that day and that hour. Many are aware of it as the Bible has always been reminding this to all of us.

The underlying question to the children of God is “ Are you ready for it, no matter what day or hour?

Jesus Christ through His parables did not lack in revealing the kingdom to us. It is for us to act upon them.

-*-