Are You Ready for the Most Important Deadline? – Matthew 25:1-13

We are used to living our lives according to deadlines, but are you prepared to meet the most important of all deadlines that Jesus describes here for us today; the parable of the wise and foolish virgins? Read on, and be surprised.

To some people this parable is designed to get us thinking about when Jesus returns or as the time in which we die and meet our maker.

The question is: are we prepared to meet Jesus? Are we ready for his return? Jesus does not want to find us unprepared, and therefore warns us accordingly.

In this parable, Jesus talks about the end of time and the eternal life; but Jesus tells a story that relates the point in everyday terms, a typical wedding for the first century Jews.

Back then, when a couple married, there was a legal betrothal ceremony first that took place; officially uniting the couple as husband and wife, because the couple did not live together as husband and wife, until later, at some set time in the future.

On that day in the future, there would be a formal procession where the husband and his groomsmen left his house, to arrive at the bride’s home, and then lead the bride and her bridesmaids back to the groom’s home where there was a brief ceremony, then a banquet or feast.

Then, and only then, where the couple allowed to live together; and this was the scene Jesus used in his parable to illustrate his point.

The ten virgins or bridesmaids.

In the parable there were ten virgins, the bridesmaids, and from our perspective they represent those who are for Jesus, assembled and waiting for His appearing.

The groom

Next, we have the groom arriving to bring his bride back to his home, and the groom on this occasion represents Jesus who has come to take us back to his home in heaven.

The foolish virgins or bridesmaids

Jesus said that half of the virgins/bridesmaids were wise and half were foolish, because half of them were prepared for a long period of waiting, the other half were not. The first five brought oil to keep their torches lit, but the other five did not.

The torches or lamps

The torches or lamps normally signify the human spirit of a person. For example, Proverbs 20:27 which says “The spirit of a man is the lamp of the Lord, searching all the inner depths of his heart.” The lamps or the light from the lamps is therefore a reference to our human spirit with a small “s”; our spirit with our personal thoughts and motivations it is; basically ourselves, without God.

The oil in the lamp

The oil in the lamp therefore, is the fuel or substance that makes lamps shine light, and keep shining light. The oil in the bible is a reference to the Holy Spirit.

Most Christians agree that the dove, the wind and oil are some of the symbols of the Holy Spirit and throughout the Old and New Testament we see oil being used for holy purposes: such as pouring oil on heads for anointing (which is empowering) and consecration (which is to make clean); basically, the physical symbolic application of the Holy Spirit.

This reveals to us that the Holy Spirit must be involved in every area of the believer’s life. Without the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives and in our churches, spiritual darkness would soon overtake

The ten virgins describe those who appear to be Christians, they’re assembled, have dressed the part and are now waiting for the return of Jesus. Five of the virgins (who had oil in their lamps) signify the fact that the Holy Spirit was alive and working through them in their lives. The five foolish virgins, (who had no oil in their lamps), were not working by the power of the Holy Spirit, and who for some reason, were working by their own strength, alone, and without the help and power of God.  For whatever reason, we’re not told, they were acting like believers in Jesus but had never invited Christ in their lives.

The five foolish virgins did not bring the oil needed, and the wise five couldn’t share their personal supply with them.  That in the parable is a reminder that each person must believe in Jesus for themselves. You cannot believe for someone else. A wife can’t believe for her husband or a parent for a child or a believer for a friend.

Every individual person needs to be ready for either the return of Jesus, or to meet him face to face.

Jesus is very clear on this and goes on to say that the five foolish virgins lived to regret their decision by saying, `Lord, lord, open to us.’ But Jesus replied, `Truly I tell you, I do not know you.’

Jesus goes on to give us this warning, “Keep awake therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.”

Jesus told this parable to give us insights into our own spiritual preparation. To finish we must ask as ourselves why did Jesus warn believers about being ready for his return?

Jesus here is concerned with spiritual complacency that says, “I’m good to go, and I will coast my way into heaven as long as I am a good person, or I go to church and do religious stuff.”

We cannot ignore the fact that Jesus came face-to-face with hell’s punishments for our sin by his death on the cross, and that our sin was buried in his tomb, and that we can rise to a new spiritual life in him, and that God will declare us holy and innocent in his eyes so that we can stand righteous before him on the last day.  We must believe in Jesus alone, not our religious actions.

So be ready, be prepared by acknowledging sin and inviting the Jesus in our lives which includes the Holy Spirit indwelling our lives.

Here’s a prayer you can pray,

“Dear Jesus, thank you for making me and loving me even though I’ve gone my own way.  I confess my wrongs. Make me a new person inside.  Even though I don’t understand it all, I commit to follow you.  Amen.”


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About dkoop

Lead Pastor of Upwards Church: Leander & Jarrell, TX
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