“At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom.” Verse 1 (NIV)
This parable is a troubling one because it dismisses a number of character traits that Jesus would otherwise champion. For instance, why do the prepared 5 not share their oil with the 5 who were unprepared. Or why are the 5 unprepared called foolish and unable to enter. The parable has a very specific message. Let’s take a look.
Another wedding, another feast. In this parable, ten girls wait eagerly to meet the bridegroom. When he arrives, the banquet will begin. The girls wait, and wait, and wait . . . and then fall asleep – all ten of them.
When the call finally comes, “Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!” the girls awaken from their sleep, rub their eyes, and trim the wicks on their lamps. They want to help light the way for the bridegroom to enter the wedding festivities. They want to be part of the procession, part of the celebration, part of the big entrance.
But five of them have to drop out of the gathering crowd. They are not well prepared; they have run out of oil, so they have to go and try to buy more.
This parable is about being prepared and faithful and that is why it is seemingly so harsh. Are you prepared and ready to meet Jesus, the bridegroom who is coming? You can be assured of saying yes to this question if you believe and trust in Jesus himself.
And are you able to wait and persevere in faith for the Lord to come? We cannot rely on a friend’s faith, or the faith of our parents. We can only truly rely on the strength of faith that Jesus provides that he gives that through his Spirit – in abundance, as much as we need!
Lord Jesus, I want to be a light for you, prepared and faithful in all I do. Help me through daily conversations with you to stay fuel filled and trimmed and bright, until you come again. Amen.