The Parable of the Wise and Foolish Virgins
25 “Then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. 2 Now five of them were wise, and five were foolish. 3 Those who were foolish took their lamps and took no oil with them, 4 but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. 5 But while the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept.
6 “And at midnight a cry was heard: ‘Behold, the bridegroom [a]is coming; go out to meet him!’ 7 Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps. 8 And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ 9 But the wise answered, saying, ‘No, lest there should not be enough for us and you; but go rather to those who sell, and buy for yourselves.’ 10 And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding; and the door was shut.
11 “Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open to us!’ 12 But he answered and said, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, I do not know you.’Matthew 25:1-12
Ready Your Oil
In the passage, Jesus was in the context of speaking about the end times. In explaining the end times to His listeners, one of the parables He told them was this one.
The parable divided 10 people into 2 – the foolish and the wise virgins, all of whom are waiting for their bridegroom to come. While all of them were waiting, all of them grabbed their own lamps, but here comes the difference. The wise had oil. The foolish had no oil. So the time came when they needed their lamps–midnight. Since the 5 wise virgins had oil, they could wait and they could focus on waiting for the bridegroom. The 5 foolish virgins had no oil, but had lamps. So they begged for oil from the 5 wise virgins which they refused to give. The 5 foolish virgins went on to buy oil leaving their state of waiting for the bridegroom. In the end, the bridegroom came, and the 5 foolish virgins who did not foresee the need for oil missed their bridegroom, who, refused to recognize them.
Being ready is preparing for something that you do not see coming. Sometimes, it takes years to prepare for something. Like the modulation of a song, improvisational sections, quick song turnovers, etc. But the bottom line in being ready is the ability to do whenever something is required of you.
In the context of the passage, Jesus was explaining what will happen when He comes back again. There are some people who will be ready–eagerly awaiting His arrival; spending years getting to know Him through His word; telling others that He will be coming soon. And there are some people who will not be ready–they pretend to be ready, but when the moment is near, they rush to do the things they should have been doing and preparing beforehand. In the end, those who are not ready will face the judgement as said in verse 12.
But he answered and said, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, I do not know you.’
How should we act as Christians?
We should be ready! Procrastination is deadly. In moments of crises like the COVID-19 pandemic, we are reminded of the nearness of His coming as these are the birth pains explained by Jesus in Matthew 24. People are now in high alert, getting ready. I don’t think it’s too late since we’re all still here reading this. But we should prepare our oil. What do you want Jesus to see once He comes back? A ready person? Or a person trying to buy oil the last minute? What do you want Jesus to see once He comes back? A person sinning? Or a person trying to know Him more?
How should we NOT act as Christians?
We should not feel relaxed. Jesus has no 15-minute grace period. He won’t be waiting for you to buy oil when He comes. We should not be complacent in getting to know Him more. We should not be complacent in studying His Word. We should not be like the 5 foolish virgins.
Is your oil ready?
What if Christ comes today? Is your oil ready? Or are you focused on other things that the oil comes last?
The bridegroom is coming. Jesus is coming! Just the fact that Jesus is coming to pick us up from the dying world should excite us and make us ready. He is not coming to condemn those who believe in Him, but instead to take us to our new home with golden streets and golden lamps. Prepare your oil!