WISE OR FOOLISH?
Wednesday, 24 October 2018
Matthew 25 : 1-13
“Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming.” -Matthew 25:13
This parable is one of warning taken from the great Olivet Discourse which is the Lord’s own sermon on His second coming from Matthew 24. This portion teaches us to prepare for the suddenness and the unexpected coming of the Lord so that we may not miss the moment. In this parable there is a wedding, the bridesmaids, the bridegroom, and a warning.
In the typical Israel at the time of our Lord ‘A wedding’ was a great event and it was the single social celebration where everybody got involved. In a Jewish marriage, the fathers made an initial engagement for the children to be married, the children then make their vows to each other which were binding with a written covenant and then there was a time period for the young man to build a house to take his bride. So once the betrothal was made by both sharing from a cup of vine, all of his preparation would indeed lead to fulfillment.
Just imagine the great anticipation in the heart of a bride and a bridegroom having to go through the process of getting to the final part of the consummation of the marriage! For that day she will be waiting with all of her bridesmaids when he arrives with all accompaniments to take her home.
In Vs1 it says, “Ten virgins took their lamps.” These virgins are the bridesmaids- the bride’s chosen ladies. They denote Christians who claim to belong to Christ and anticipate His coming. They have on their wedding garment and the torch as well. These bridesmaids’ presence in the parable symbolizes their interest, and their torch symbolizes their profession of faith in Christ. They show outward marks of commitment, waiting for the coming of the bridegroom. When you just see the ten of them, they’re not easily distinguishable but they are not alike. Verse 2 says, five of them were wise and five were foolish. It may not have been clear initially, but the Lord, the searcher of our hearts knows. Five were “wise” (phronimos) meaning thoughtful, sensible or prudent. And five were “foolish” (mōros), meaning stupid. Inwardly they are very different - wise and stupid. When Christ comes and look into His church, all may say we wait for His coming, we have our garments on and torches in hand. But He knows whether you’re wise or stupid. And the differentiation here is the preparedness.
The foolish made no proper preparation; only external. But they didn’t care for the most necessary thing, the inward, that is the oil. They all professed faith, but only five had the genuine inward oil.
Now, what is that oil? The oil is symbolic of one’s preparedness. It is the great grace without which no man can be saved. This oil is the imputed righteousness given by Christ which surpass the righteousness of a Pharisee. It is the genuine holiness through Christ and a transformed inward life. The foolish virgins were outwardly religiously committed—but they had no light or life on the inside. 2 Timothy 3:5 speaks of “having a form of godliness but denying its power.” They had no inner-ability to be conformed to God’s laws. Their faith was the “dead faith” without any fruit.
The purpose of this parable is to warn us not to be caught in such unpreparedness when the Lord Jesus comes. Those oil-less torches indicate those who have no prayer life, no hunger for godliness, no love of obedience, no passion for the lost, who are tares and the shallow weedy soil, those houses with no foundation! Let us be like the wise virgins who had the oil of preparedness ready to meet the groom!
“O Lord God, give us the grace to open our hearts,
and be filled with oil of preparedness
that we may be a part of the joy of the Kingdom at the wedding celebration of the Lamb of God.”
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