[The Ten Bridesmaids: Matthew 25:1-13]
Also known as the Parable of the Ten Virgins
Not good and bad women– WISE and FOOLISH women.
Context: Disciples requested knowledge of a sign or signal of the coming of Jesus. (see Matthew 24:3)
- These ten women are waiting to escort the bridegroom for the torch lighting procession at the end of the ceremony as the bride is brought home.
- The torches/lamps would likely have been oil soaked rags on a stick. They would burn a few minutes and then be put back into the oil. If there was no more oil for lamp, they would have burnt out as soon as lit.
There was a delay – the church must be prepared to wait for PAROUSIA (pair-oo-see-ah) means “coming” or “presence” – used when discussing Second Coming of Christ in New Testament.
- They couldn’t share their oil with the others. We cannot share our salvation with others.
- There is a time of no return—when it is too late to change. The opportunity is lost.
- Outcome is heaven or hell – Matthew 25:11-12, Matthew 7:21-23
The lack of oil is similar to running out of gas.
- Miss warning signs
- False confidence
- Incorrect calculations – think they can get it later
The five foolish women did not run out of oil—they never had the oil.
ARE YOU READY??
Bible Study Questions
1) There are five wise women and five foolish women. Who are the five wise? Who are the five foolish?
2) This parable distinguishes between two groups. What were the similarities between the wise women and foolish women?
3) Read Matthew 7:23. Reread verse 12 from today’s parable. What can you notice from both of these verses? What does this mean?
4) Many scholars believe the oil represents the Holy Spirit. The lamp has been called the Lamp of Profession. How does one receive the Holy Spirit?
5) How could these foolish women believe they would escort the bridegroom without the oil?
6) We cannot share our salvation with others, but what can we do before the Parousia (Second Coming of Christ)?
More Than A Story is a 12-week Sermon Series and Bible Study focused on the parables of Jesus.
Whenever there is something that needs to be done, I always try my best to be prepared. When planning for a trip, I make a list of all the needs for packing. For my finances, I have my budget organized in Excel, outlined meticulously after having some amazing training from Dave Ramsey. Even when I take my dog Max for a walk, I have things I do to prepare. I like being prepared.
In 2 Chronicles we read of groups of people who did not prepare themselves properly for the Passover meal. As a result they did not partake of the meal. Hezekiah prayed for forgiveness for these people who pretty much missed the boat.
Today, I challenge you with your preparedness with God. Do you prepare yourself in the morning by reading God’s Word and by praying? Do you prepare yourself for worship? Do you prepare yourself before Communion? Remember the Parable of the Ten Virgins, with the five women who had no oil for their lamps. Are you prepared for Jesus’ return? Are you prepared to share your faith? Remember what Peter said, to always be prepared to share the reason for your hope. Are you prepared?
“There were a lot of people, especially those from Ephraim, Manasseh, Issachar, and Zebulun, who did not eat the Passover meal because they had not prepared themselves adequately. Hezekiah prayed for these as follows: ‘May God who is all good, pardon and forgive everyone who sincerely desires God, the God of our ancestors. Even—especially!—these who do not meet the literal conditions stated for access to The Temple.’”
-2 Chronicles 30:18-19 [MSG]
When my daughter thought I was returning at one time, but I was returning a bit earlier, she decided to put her chores off till later in the day. To her surprise, she did not hear the correct time and since she put off her chores, I returned before she even started the work she was assigned. As I walked into the kitchen, she immediately said, “I didn’t know you were coming home already” and she began running to quickly do her chores.
If she would have not put off doing her chores, she might have had some or all of them accomplished before I returned. She was only off a few hours from the actual time I was going to return, which meant she was waiting till the last minute to prepare herself for my return. This is so like those who are not prepared for the return of Jesus. We don’t know the time of His return, but we do know that He is coming. We have a task set before us and we should not be found pushing things off thinking he will be awhile.
In Matthew 25, the bridgegroom took a long time to arrive so people began to tire and fall asleep. Some of the virgins were wise and had oil, while others were foolish and had none. Eventually the bridegroom came and to the people who were not prepared came the punishment of not being allowed entrance to the wedding feast. It is so important to always be ready.
“So you, too, must keep watch! For you do not know the day or hour of my return.” – Matthew 25:13 [NLT]