The Ten Virgins

The Ten VirginsText: Matthew 25:1-13

Jesus often used parables in His teaching – using an everyday illustration to describe a spiritual truth. In this parable, Jesus described ten virgins waiting for the bridegroom so they could enter a wedding feast. As we study this, we are going to attempt to identify the MAIN point. Once we do that, we will see how we can apply this in our lives.

Context

  • In the previous chapter, Jesus warned about two different days (destruction of Jerusalem and the final judgment) – some believe there is just one day of judgment in that chapter (either of Jerusalem or of the world); yet He made a clear shift (Matthew 24:36); one day has signs to show it is coming and the other does not
  • Jesus warned His followers to “be on the alert” for the final day of judgment (Matthew 24:42) – this parable was given to further emphasize that point (Matthew 25:13)
  • We also need to understand what this parable represents – “the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 25:1) is repeatedly used to refer to the church; the ten virgins were those in the church; the “wedding feast” represents the consummation of God’s plan to welcome the faithful to heaven

Basic Point

  • In the parable, ten young women (virgins) were awaiting the bridegroom to enter a wedding feast – five were wise/prudent, five were foolish
  • The wise/prudent virgins were ready when the bridegroom came – they were welcomed into the feast
  • The foolish virgins were NOT ready – they were shut out and could not enter later
  • The main point of the parable is that we are to always be on the alert – ready for the Lord’s return

Examination

  • The ten virgins all took lamps and went out to wait for the bridegroom – five wise, five foolish; they all wanted to see the bridegroom, knew he was coming, waited for him, and took their lamps; at the beginning, they are very similar; the only difference was that the foolish ones took no oil and the wise ones did
  • The bridegroom was delayed – did not arrive when they thought he would arrive; all of them fell asleep (illustrating a time where they were not actively waiting); when the bridegroom was announced, only the wise were ready (they had oil to light their lamps); the wise could not share with the foolish, they had to obtain their own
  • When the bridegroom arrived, those who were ready were welcomed – then the door was shut; the foolish virgins came late; despite waiting earlier, they were shut out

Application

  • We must watch for the Lord’s return – be alert (Mt. 24:42-44); it could be anytime (Matthew 24:36; 2 Peter 3:10)
  • We must be prepared to wait indefinitely – not as immediate as we’d hope (1 Thessalonians 5:1-6; 2 Thessalonians 2:1-3); while we wait, we must fulfill our obligations here (2 Thessalonians 3:10-13); can’t quit our job to wait for the Lord’s return
  • We must prepare for ourselves – we can certainly help others (Hebrews 3:12-13); but each one’s salvation/condemnation will depend upon what they do (Ezekiel 18:20; 2 Corinthians 5:10)
  • We cannot help everyone – we can’t give someone our obedience or forgiveness; each one needs their own “oil”; if someone will not help himself, there is nothing more we can do (Hebrews 6:4-6)
  • We cannot hope for a second chance – at this point, our eternal fate is sealed (Matthew 25:46); so be ready

Conclusion

  • We are awaiting the Lord’s return – we know He is coming, but we do not know when He is coming
  • Let us be on the alert and ready to meet Him – if you are not ready, now is the time to prepare

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