Hi it’s George here, I hope you’re having a great week so far and have enjoyed hearing from Liam on the podcasts. I’m going to be taking over for today and take us through Matthew 25:1-13.
Today’s passage is about the parable of the 10 virgins, or as I’m going to call them from now, bridesmaids. This is a continuation of Jesus’ warnings about the end times.
Let’s set the scene. The 10 bridesmaids have come along to a wedding. This is the sort of extravagant wedding familiar to the Jewish audience of that time. It’s a big event, the chance to go to a wedding, and according to one commentary I read, the week-long party that followed. Who would want to miss that? Certainly not the 10 bridesmaids.
However, here’s where the problems begin. To get into the wedding they should probably have a working lamp, the party’s going to go well into the night, and in the 1st Century remember, no electric lighting. 5 bridesmaids have brought the oil that they need with them, 5 haven’t. It gets later and later and still no sign of the groom, until at midnight they hear him and his friends on their way. The foolish bridesmaids suddenly realise their predicament, turn to the wise bridesmaids and ask for a share of their oil. The wise bridesmaids say no. There’s not enough oil to go around and the foolish bridesmaids should have brought their own anyway. In a last-ditch attempt at getting some oil, they head out into the night to try and find a shop or dealer who is around at such a late hour to get some from. By the time they return the party’s started and the door’s slammed in their face.
If we were to modernise the story, imagine a long queue for a concert. The e-ticket’s on your phone and just as you get to the front of the queue your phone run’s out of battery. The people around you aren’t going to help because they’ll miss the first song so you’re stuck outside listening to music through the walls wishing you were inside.
But what does Jesus have to say in the midst of this? Well first of all is that he’s coming back one day and we better be ready. There’s no getting around that fact.
When it comes to us though, who will we be in this scenario? Will we chance it, hope someone else can bail us out and save us? I’m not risking that.
When I read this passage, I want to be like one of the wise bridesmaids who comes prepared for the wedding with oil ready to go. And I’ll be honest, this season has really challenged me. The question has been asked a few times: whether the rhythms we have are enough to sustain us? I’m not sure I can say yes to that yet.
When we hear a parable like this, I’ll admit I’m a little worried too. What happens if my oil just isn’t there and I haven’t done enough? What if maybe I’m just not good enough?
James 4:8 says “draw near to God and he will draw near to you”
As we draw near to God, he will come and meet us where we’re at. This isn’t something that comes from our efforts alone. As we seek him, he grants us the privilege of drawing closer to us too.
So, the question I want to leave for us is how are we drawing closer to God each day in these times? You might have some really good rhythms in this time or there might still be some work needed. Nobody’s perfect in that sense and I certainly wouldn’t say I am. But let’s use this coming season as a chance to draw near to God and be ready to receive the great things that he has for us.
Lord, we thank you for the great blessing we have in the salvation and relationship we have in you. I pray that in the turbulence of the current season you will help us draw close to you through our rhythms and routines in this time. In Jesus name. Amen
BIBLE READING: Matthew 25:1-13
‘At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish and five were wise. The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. The wise ones, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep.
‘At midnight the cry rang out: “Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!”
‘Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish ones said to the wise, “Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.”
‘“No,” they replied, “there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.”
‘But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut.
‘Later the others also came. “Lord, Lord,” they said, “open the door for us!”
‘But he replied, “Truly I tell you, I don’t know you.”
‘Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.‘