[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]
In Judges 7, the Israelites were battling the Midianites. If you read closely, you will note a few things. “Each man stood at his position and watched” – no one was moving forward. Everyone was watching and ready for the Lord’s instruction. They then blew their horns as the Lord had instructed and the Lord brought victory without them going forward into battle.
We are told to be prepared. We are to be prepared for the Lord’s coming (Matthew 24). We are to be prepared to give an answer to others (1 Peter 3). We are to be prepared. In Judges 7, the Israelites were dressed for battle. They were ready to fight. But something happened so the fight wasn’t like what one would expect. The Lord acted in such a way that they simply needed to be prepared and blow the horns.
Be prepared. Understand that there will be times when you will need to do more work than others. There are moments when God wants you to do the work and there are times when He wants you prepared to watch Him work a miracle or do a great work. So keep watching and keep yourself prepared. Expect God to move. You may be amazed by what you see.
“Each man stood at his position around the camp and watched as all the Midianites rushed around in a panic, shouting as they ran to escape. When the 300 Israelites blew their rams’ horns, the LORD caused the warriors in the camp to fight against each other with their swords. Those who were not killed fled to places as far away as Beth-shittah near Zererah and to the border of Abel-meholah near Tabbath.” – Judges 7:21-22 [NLT]
Whenever I leave the house and do not take my dog Max with me, he will look out the kitchen window for me while I am gone. There is a bench my grandfather built long ago that he puts his paws upon to hold himself up to see out at the drive way. I have found that if I am only gone a short while, my dog Max is still waiting by the window awaiting my arrival. However, if I am gone for hours, he has long given up on watching out the window. Instead, he is resting on the sofa at his special spot.
This reminds me a lot of the Parable of the Ten Virgins (Matthew 25). There were ten virgins, five who were prepared and five who were unprepared. “The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. The wise, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep” (25:3-5 NIV). It ended up that when the bridegroom returned, he told the five who were unprepared that he did not know them. We are told to be watchful because we do not know the time of the return of Christ.
So the questions I have for you to ask yourselves today are:
*Are you like my dog Max?
*Are you waiting by the window, prepared to greet your Master?
*Have you gotten tired of waiting, and walked to the sofa to rest?
We don’t know the time or the hour, but we do know what awaits us if there is no oil in our lamps. I pray that today you are able to find renewed energy for your walk with Christ. We are not promised an easy life, but we are promised that He will be by our side through it all.
As I said before, I recently moved. It has been quite an adventure. What I’ve found to be most interesting is the kitchen sink. The sink has a lot of great features. One can adjust the faucet to either run water or to sprinkle the water. There’s also a built in, removable cutting board. The issue I’ve been having involves the sink faucet dripping when I turn it off. I will finish dishes and walk away. Drip, drip, drip. I will get some water for coffee and hear it again. Drip, drip, drip. If I do not get it perfectly right, it drips. I have tried to learn exactly how this is done, but I’ve learned that I won’t always get it right. One has to slowly turn it off and center it just perfectly in the middle of the apparatus.
God is more understanding than my new faucet. He understands that we are not going to always get it right. He knows that we need a little grace, because we are sinners who fall short. The dripping of the faucet is irritating. Hearing it reminds me again and again that I turned the sink off wrong, that I wasn’t good enough. God doesn’t remind us of our faults. He does not tell us months down the road that we messed up while making a decision at work, or that we should have followed His plan instead of thinking we could do things our way.
God doesn’t tell us that we are not good enough. To God, we are the apple of His eye. We are His children, His inheritance, His friend. We are citizens of heaven. We are hidden with Christ in God. We are saints. We are the workmanship of God. We are a temple of God. He looks at us with love, showers us with love, and He wants nothing but the very best for us.
We all have bad habits of not showing ourselves grace. We are taught by society to see the flaws, and people are usually quick to help us notice them by pointing them out. The devil does his best to constantly whisper to us the long list as well. We end up upset, irritated, depressed, tired, rundown, bitter, sad, angry, and hurt all because we are not “good enough.” Today, show yourself some grace. Understand that you are a work in progress and God is with you every step of the way. You are not always going to do it right, but God loves you. The only dripping you will hear is from the devil and society. Keep pressing forward, allowing His Spirit to guide you, and rest in His love, where there is no sound of dripping.
“For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.”
– Ephesians 2:8-10 [NASB]