I don’t know about you, but I love weddings! Just thinking about weddings makes me giddy! My mom says, I am ALL girl! But really, just about every girl dreams about her wedding day…what she will wear, who will attend, where it will take place, the color scheme, and (more importantly) who she will marry!
Have you ever attended a wedding where the bride was completely not ready? I didn’t think so. I mean, the bride has dreamed about this day forever. Of course she will be ready! When wedding planning, dresses are ordered months in advance, practice hair-do days are scheduled, manicures and pedicures are enjoyed, and diets are in place. I have yet to see an ugly bride. On that day, people always tell her how beautiful she is. Why is this? It’s because she has made herself ready.
In Matthew 25:1-13, the kingdom of heaven is compared to a bridal party who went out to meet the bridegroom. This is representative of when the bridegroom, Jesus, comes for his bride, the Church. Jesus will return, and He will take only those who have prepared to be with Him by accepting Him as their Savior and Lord.
The Church Has Made Herself Ready
In verses 2-4, we see that five of the virgins were foolish and the other five were prudent. The wise, prudent women took their lamps and a flask with extra oil, whereas the foolish women only took their lamps. Our culture we live in is very impulsive. If we want something, we are usually just one click away from having it. Online purchases, drive-thrus, instant coffee, and freezer meals make everything seem so instantaneous. In this particular story, there was no instant oil, nor were there streetlights. The women who had the end goal in mind were able to make the journey back to the groom’s house for the rest of the festivities by the light of their lamps, but the women who were too busy having a good time to think things through were not able to see the way and needed more oil. They assumed they would have enough oil, but in verse 5, as the bridegroom delayed, their oil ran dry and they were left without a light.
The Groom Is Coming
The women had waited so long they had gotten sleepy, so the sound of the announcement awakened them. They rose and trimmed their lamps, but the foolish women did not have any oil, so they tried to convince the others to share. The prudent women explained they did not have enough to give them. They told the foolish virgins to go to the dealers and buy some for themselves.
Many people think they have enough religion, spirituality, or good works to get into heaven. They may even appease themselves by going to church in effort to ease the guilt they feel from sin, but church attendance and good deeds will not matter in light of eternity. God’s Word tells us His Son will return, and Christ’s righteousness in us is all that will allow us into the kingdom of God.
The Church Is on the Lookout
While the foolish ones had gone to buy their oil, the bridegroom made his appearance to take the women to the wedding feast. Only those who had kept their attention on the bridegroom were taken to partake in the festivities. The ones who scrambled for more oil took their eyes off the groom when they went to find the dealers. Our eyes, minds, and hearts should be fixated on Jesus. I want my heart to be set on the Lord when He comes for His church. So many times this world’s treasures capture our heart’s devotion, and if we aren’t careful, we lose focus on what matters most!
Once again, I think about a wedding day…the church doors swing open, the bride walks forward and her gaze is set upon her groom, and the groom’s gaze is set upon the bride. These kinds of weddings are the sweetest and my favorite because their love for one another is so evident. She has made herself ready, he is standing at the altar, and they finally meet one another. It’s a beautiful thing! But what if they weren’t like that? What if the bride never looked at her groom? How awkward and sad would that be? Yet, how many of us have claimed Jesus as our bridegroom spiritually, yet we never even look at Him?
The old hymn comes to mind, “Turn your eyes upon Jesus. Look full at His wonderful face, and the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.” That’s how we should be-fixated on our Savior so much that the things of this earth fade away.
The Church Will Be Welcomed In
In the last part of this passage, the foolish women arrive to the wedding feast late. The door was shut, and they came to the door asking, “Lord, Lord open up for us. But He answered, ‘Truly I say to you, I do not know you’” (verses 11- 12). Even though they had found their way to the wedding feast, they were not welcomed in because they had not followed the bridegroom. They had done things their own way and would not be allowed in. The foolish women probably came off as if they were wedding crashers just wanting to take some free food. After all, why would they have not come in with the bridegroom before if they were truly part of the bridal party? They were more concerned with other things than being ready for the bridegroom’s return. Those, however, whose hearts were wholly set on the return of the groom were welcomed in. Not only were they welcomed in the house, but they were also welcomed to dine at the wedding feast. Jesus ends the parable by saying, “Be on the alert then, for you do not know the day nor the hour” (verse 13).
Girls, I want to ask you…if Christ chose to come back for His Church right now, how would your heart look? Would you be welcomed in as His beautiful bride dressed in His righteousness ready to sit with him at the Marriage Supper? Or would you be the half-ready bride with tousled hair, dressed in an old, ratty t-shirt who is unforgiven? If you haven’t given your heart and life’s devotion to Jesus, ask the Lord now to forgive you of your sin and trust in Jesus to save you. He will return for His bride, and we are commanded to be alert and ready for His return.
Lord, let my eyes be fixed upon You each day. I surrender my heart fully to Your leading. Make me ready for Your return, always. Lord, please allow me an opportunity to share with someone today the good news of Your salvation that You purchased on the cross.
“Even So Come” by Kristian Stanfill
“Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus” by Helen H. Lemmel