1 “Then the kingdom of heaven shall be like ten virgins, who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. 2 Five of them were wise and five were foolish. 3 Those who were foolish took their lamps, but took no oil with them. 4 But the wise took jars of oil with their lamps. 5 While the bridegroom delayed, they all rested and slept. 6 “But at midnight there was a cry, ‘Look, the bridegroom is coming! Come out to meet him!’ 7 “Then all those virgins rose and trimmed their lamps. 8 But the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps have gone out.’ 9 “The wise answered, ‘No, lest there not be enough for us and you. Go rather to those who sell it, and buy some for yourselves.’ 10 “But while they went to buy some, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut. 11 “Afterward, the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open the door for us.’ 12 “But he answered, ‘Truly 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.” Matthew 25:1-13 MEV
‘Are you wise or foolish in your preparations for Christ’s Return?’
Are you ready for Jesus Christ to return on the Last Day? As we read in 1 Thessalonians 5, “the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. When they say, ‘Peace and safety!’ then sudden destruction will come upon them as labor upon a woman with child, and they shall not escape” (v. 2-3).
Jesus told the parable of the Ten Virgins to admonish us to be watchful and ready at all times for His return.
In the parable, Jesus compares the kingdom of heaven to ten virgins “who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom.” The wise virgins took extra oil for their lamps so that they would be ready even if the “bridegroom delayed.” The foolish took only the oil in their lamps and did not consider the possibility that their lamps would go out before the bridegroom arrived.
As a result, these foolish virgins were not prepared and ready when the bridegroom came; and they did not, together with the wise virgins, enter with the bridegroom into the marriage feast.
With this parable, Jesus warns us against being foolishly unprepared for His return on the Last Day.
It is, of course, foolish to willfully continue in sin, thinking that Jesus’ coming will not catch us off guard and in impenitence. It is foolish to think that we can enjoy the deceitful pleasures of sin and yet, somehow, at the last moment, repent and still be saved. The Bible warns us against such thinking in passages such as Hebrews 10:26-31; 2 Peter 2:20-22; Romans 6:1-23; and Jesus’ parable in Matthew 24:45-51.
And, as the parable of the Ten Virgins shows us, it is foolish for us who believe in Christ today to assume all is well with our souls and fall asleep and not be watching for and expecting His return at any time. It is certainly foolish not to have our faith continually nourished and kept burning through the regular use of the Word of God and the Sacraments (Baptism and the Lord’s Supper), which is the oil in our lamps the Holy Spirit uses to preserve and strengthen our faith in Christ Jesus (AC V; FC, SD, XI, Par. 14-22; John 6:63; 8:31-32; Rom. 10:17; 2 Tim. 3:14-17; Phil. 1:6; 1 Pet. 1:23-25; 2:2-3).
If we do not make such provision through the continued use of the Word of God in our homes and the Word and Sacraments in our church, we may find our lamps empty and gone out — our faith dead — at Jesus’ coming.
And those who have no living, saving faith in Jesus Christ when He returns in Judgment will be shut out of heaven. It will be too late to rekindle faith at that time!
But those who have wisely provided oil for their lamps — those who continue to nourish their faith by remembering their Baptism, using the Word of God and receiving the Body and Blood of Christ given and shed for the remission of sins that the Holy Spirit may, through these means, keep their faith burning and alive, giving and assuring to them forgiveness for all their sins and life everlasting for Jesus’ sake — will enter into heaven with Jesus and enjoy its blessings forever (cf. 2 Thess. 1:4-12; Psalm 16:11; 17:15; Rev. 19:7-9; 21:1ff.).
God grant that you be wise and not foolish, that you be found ready, with your faith alive and burning, on the day of Christ’s return.
With my lamp well trimmed and burning, swift to hear and slow to roam, watching for Thy glad returning to restore me to my home. Come, my Savior, Come, my Savior, O my Savior, quickly come. Amen. (John S.B. Monsell, 1863, The Lutheran Hymnal, Hymn #606, Verse 4)
[Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, Modern English Version. Copyright © 2014 by Military Bible Association. Published and distributed by Charisma House.]