The Ten Virgins
READ Matthew 25:1-13
Matthew has already given us a clutch of ‘Parables of the Kingdom’ (13:42, 44, 50). Here in chapter 25 he recounts three ‘Parables of Judgment’. They are closely connected to chapter 24 and its concluding parable (24:45-51), in which Jesus warns His disciples about forthcoming events and warns them to ‘watch (Matthew 24:13, 36).
Like the parable of the sower, this parable, which only Matthew records, encourages us to interpret the details as well as to look out for the main point of the teaching. Most of these details are fairly clear. Israel was sometimes referred to as a “virgin”, and in the New Testament the church is often described as a bride (2 Corinthians 11:2), with Jesus Himself, who is presented as the groom, coming to claim His bride’s hand in marriage (Matthew 9:15; Ephesians 5:25-27; Revelation 19:7-9).
The main point of the parable, however, is that Jesus’ followers must be always prepared, because they never know when their Lord will return (2 Peter 3:10-12a). It could be quite unexpected. After His arrival, the door will be shut (10). There is no further hope at that point. As for late-comers, the judgment upon them seems harsh and uncompromising (11-13). There is a clear-cut distinction between those who are ready and those who are not. Today many people find this teaching unpalatable, but without an equal emphasis upon the judgment and justice of God, His loving-kindness is devalued. The refusal of the wise virgins to share their oil Is not selfishness but common sense. Spiritual worth and being prepared is unavoidably non-transferable. It is not enough simply to entertain wishful thinking for the future. Christians must be actively preparing themselves to meet their Lord.
PRAY O Lord our God, make us watchful and keep us faithful as we wait for the coming of Your Son our Lord.