Matthew 25:1-13


No matter the custom
or culture, weddings are important and revered events. As a pastor I have always
been extra sensitive to the nature of a formal wedding.  I want everything to
be just right.  I want everyone to be punctual, especially myself. A number
of years ago I arrived at the church to perform the wedding of a precious young
couple. I was greeted by an angry father of the groom, asking me why I was so
late. I told him that I was not late, but early. The time of the wedding had
been changed and I was not informed. Thinking I was in my usual waiting area
the pianist started the wedding but I was not there. Although I was not at fault,
I still felt badly that I was late for the wedding.

The background
to this parable is Jewish wedding custom. The event centered on the coming of
the bridegroom. It is about not being late for the wedding. The virgins, or
bridesmaids are friends of the bride and groom. The role they will play in the
wedding is significant. They are on standby, waiting for the groom.

These ten bridesmaids
kept a faithful vigil, waiting for that climatic moment at which time they would
line the roadway to with lanterns aglow to welcome the bridegroom and to escort
him to his wedding. When the groom was in place the door of the house was closed
and the wedding ceremony began. Those who were left on the outside when the
door was closed no longer had an opportunity to enter. The parable introduces
us to ten virgins who represent two kinds of people: those who are prepared
for the coming of the Bridegroom and those who are not, those who entered the
wedding with the groom and those who were left out.

This parable is
about the eternal Kingdom of God and those who will be in that Kingdom as well
as those who will not be in His Kingdom.  The ten virgins are seen in two groups
of five.  One group was prepared for the time of waiting and the arrival of
the bridegroom by bringing plenty of oil for their lamps. They are called wise
because they were prepared.  Their lamps were full of oil and they were ready
for the bridegroom’s arrival.  The Lord describes the second group as foolish
because they had no oil for their lamps. They had made no preparation for the
coming of the bridegroom.

The Lord’s parable
reminds us that one day He will return for His Church.  We do not know when
that will be.  It could be in the midnight hour as we slumber and sleep.  However,
we can be prepared for His return whether it is at mid-day or midnight. Notice
three simple observations:

The People in the Parable (vv.1-13)

There is a purposeful
reference to the bridegroom, but the text focuses on the ten virgins, or bridesmaids.
Here we see ten people who were invited to the wedding.  All of them could have
been at the wedding, but only five of them were there on time. Only five of
them were prepared for the coming of the bridegroom.

We see two groups
of people represented by the bridesmaids.  The first group, the wise ones, made
preparation for the coming of the bridegroom.  This group represents those who
have accepted Jesus Christ as personal Lord and Savior.  The second group, the
foolish ones, could have been at the wedding, they were invited, but when the
bridegroom arrived they were not ready.  This group represents those who are
outside of Christ. Those who do not know Him as Lord and Savior.

The Problem we find in the Parable (vv. 8, 13)

The problem is
that we do not know the day or the hour that the Bridegroom is coming.

The five foolish
virgins made no preparation for the coming of the Bridegroom.  I am sure they
all had good excuses why they were not prepared.  They even tried to make last
minute preparation by borrowing oil from their fellow bridesmaids, but it was
too late.

The Punishment for those who are not prepared (vv.11-12)

When the door to
the wedding was closed it was closed for good. Only those who are ready for
the Bridegrooms arrival will be allowed in.  All others will have to hear the
awful words: I do not know you, v.12.

The Bridegroom
is coming.  Are you ready.  Don’t be late for the wedding.


brief provided by: Roger D. Willmore, pastor of Deerfoot
Baptist Church in Trussville, Alabama

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