I was reading the parable of the ten bridesmaids in the book of Matthew today (Matthew 25:1-13). I love how Jesus was always such a story teller, I can picture just sitting at His lovely feet and listening to Him recount the parables to those who followed Him. In this particular instance He was using the analogy of a Jewish wedding ceremony something His listening audience could relate too. In the Jewish wedding ceremony the long-awaited Bridegroom (Jewish brides waited a year after betrothal for their Bridegroom to prepare a place for them) came to snatch away the bride the night before the wedding feast itself. This parable is one of the easiest ones to understand, the Bridegroom is of course Jesus, and the five wise virgins (bridesmaids) represent genuine believers, and the five foolish bridesmaids represent unbelievers. Remember that Jesus was talking to the Jews and often He employed using language that the Jews would understand, such as a Jewish wedding ceremony, but Jesus was also speaking to us, all of us who would believe in Him through the years.
Let's look at the verses from the Bible: Matthew 25 1"Then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. 2Now five of them were wise, and five were foolish. 3Those who were foolish took their lamps and took no oil with them, 4but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. 5But while the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept. 6"And at midnight a cry was heard: 'Behold, the bridegroom is coming; go out to meet him!' 7Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps. 8And the foolish said to the wise, 'Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.' 9But 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.' 10And 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. 11"Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, 'Lord, Lord, open to us!' 12But he answered and said, 'Assuredly, I say to you, I do not know you.' 13"Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming.
From reading these scriptures we can see that all are virgins, all of them have lamps, all of them go out to meet the Bridegroom, and all of them get drowsy and fall asleep. These are the things they have in common. This parable that Jesus told of the Bridesmaids is a microcosm of the church today. All believers should be waiting for Jesus to return, just as He promised He would. All of us should have our lamps and be ready to go out to meet Him. For all intents and purposes these virgins seem identical until you read that only five of them had enough oil to keep their lamps lit. What does this mean to you and me? All of the virgins fell asleep, because Jesus says that at midnight they all arose. But only five of them were properly prepared to meet the Bridegroom, five of them had stayed in a state of preparation and five had not. The five who were not prepared immediately tried to borrow oil from the five who were prepared in order to trim their lamps. There is one valuable lesson to learn from this parable of the ten virgins and that is we must be ready every moment to meet Jesus Christ, our oil should be in our lamps. Many Christians today have grown weary of watching and waiting for the Lord to return it isn't uncommon for Jay and me to encounter people who say they believe in Christ who will mutter, "Where is the promise of His coming, even my grandmother believed she would see Christ's return." The reason I live in a state of readiness is because of Jesus' words here to the foolish virgins who showed up after the wedding feast had begun and the door was shut. But He answered and said 'Assuredly, I say to you, I do not know you.'
I never want to hear those words from Jesus, how about you? If He does not return in my lifetime I will die ready to see His lovely face. I will pass from this world with Him in my heart and His dear name on my breath. Nothing in this world will keep me from that moment. God knows my heart, He can read my thoughts, and He knows that I would die before denying Him. He knows that every morning my eyes open in this world that I praise His Holy Name for one more day to glorify Him, and I pray all of you do the same. Look around this world is there any part of it that you would cling to instead of Jesus; ask yourself if anything that this world has to offer you is worth going to hell for. I hope your answer will be a resounding NO!!!
The truth is that Jesus could delay His coming longer than we think, and His coming will catch most people by surprise we need to stay awake and have oil for our lamps. It is also true that some people who profess Christ do not posses Christ and may look like true believers but will hear those dreaded words from Jesus on that day "Assuredly, I say to you, I do not know you.'
I pray Brothers and Sisters that this will not be true of any of us. God forbid. No religion will assure your place in Heaven, and you cannot get there on anyone else's merits. Keep oil in your lamps and be ready every day to meet your Savior, do not grow weary in well doing and encourage others along the way. Bring as many people home with you as you possibly can, and on that day you will hear these words from Jesus. "Well done good and faithful servant."