The Herald Weekly Vol XV : 3

Watchfulness and readiness

In Matt 25:1-13, Jesus tells a parable which likens the kingdom of heaven to 10 virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were wise because they brought extra oil with them; the other five were foolish in not bringing extra oil. The bridegroom took a long time in coming, and the lamps were running low in oil.  The five wise ones had extra oil to trim their lamps, but they did not have enough to share with the five foolish ones. The latter had to go and buy oil. While they were away, the bridegroom arrived and went into the house to fetch the bride, and the door was shut. When the five foolish ladies returned and requested that the door be opened for them, the bridegroom answered that he did not know them. Jesus ends the parable by saying “Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day not the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.”

In this parable, we understand that the Church is the Bride of Christ which anticipates the return of Jesus, the bridegroom of the Church. Jesus separates those two groups of people who look forward to His return. There are those who prepare for His return, and those who do not (as represented by the extra oil they had, or did not have).

The lamp which the ten virgins carried with them symbolizes the Word of God (Ps 119:105) which lights our way in life. This lamp is what Christ is emphasizing in the parable – the importance of keeping our lamps shining all the time. The five foolish virgins who did not have extra oil to trim their lamps found themselves in darkness (symbolizing spiritual darkness), and thus did not deserve to enter the kingdom of God.

As followers of Christ, we are told to watch and wait for the return of Christ to earth. But Matt 25:5 tells us that “The bridegroom tarried, and they all slumbered and slept.” We will get tired as we wait for Him because we do not know the day or the hour of His return. We will fall asleep too; but will our lamps still be trimmed in the end? In other words, while we wait for Christ’s second coming, some might get tired – of reading God’s Word; some could be “ever learning, but never able to come to the knowledge of truth” (2 Tim 3:7); or tired of fellowshipping with fellow Christians (Heb 10:24,25). Eventually these might fall away from church or from their faith in Christ.

Then, at midnight, there is a cry announcing the arrival of the Bridegroom (Matt 25:6). Indeed, He comes when many have fallen asleep, and others about to doze off.  But will we be ready to welcome Him?

Yes, many pastors, preachers and other church leaders will issue the midnight cry to warn believers of the Bridegroom’s arrival.  Those who are like the 5 wise virgins are the elect of God who hear His cry and immediately knows what to do… they trimmed their lamps (vs 7).

The wise ones are those cling on to the teachings of Christ, and live righteous lives according to God’s principles and truths. The foolish ones, on the other hand, have become complacent and lethargic, not keeping the truths of God in their lives. In times of need and desperation, they have no reserve of spiritual strength to fight life’s battles.

Let us be like the wise virgins who heed God’s Word and be overcomers in the faith through trials and difficult times. Let us be worthy to welcome our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ when He returns to take us back to the Heavenly Father. Let us be forewarned and not be like the foolish ones who ignore the need to be prepared, and forfeit the privilege to enter into God’s kingdom.

Warnings and Promises from God’s Word:

“Let your loins be girded about (active and faithful readiness) and your lights (the Word of God) burning (shining brightly in your life). And ye yourselves like unto men (zealous followers of God) that wait for their lord (Jesus Christ), when he will return from the wedding (the Great Wedding Feast); that when he cometh and knocketh, they may open unto him immediately.” (Lk 12:35-36)

“Blessed are those servants (those who serve Christ) whom  the lord (Chrsit) when he cometh shall find watching (ready for His coming): verily I say unto you, that he (Christ) shall gird himself, and make them (those who wait for Him) to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them.” (Lk 12:37)

“Be ye therefore ready also: for the Son of man cometh at an hour when you think not (vs 40)

“And take heed to your selves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of thes life, and so that day come upon you unawares.” (Lk 21:34)

As we wait and watch for Christ’s return, we need to be actively living for Him, and serving Him faithfully. Let us be consistent in our faith and service to Him,  never allowing complacency or slothfulness to take over our lives. Let us eagerly wait for our Saviour and Lord’s return, and be prepared for whatever contingency might arise in our lives. Let us keep our eyes fixed on Christ alone.

Pastor Bob Phee

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