Matthew 25:1-13 The Parable of the Virgins

We will enter the Scripture in a section that has our Lord and His disciples sitting on the Mount of Olives only a few days before His crucifixion. The teaching began with the disciples asking our Lord when and what the signs would be of the Temple’s destruction, His coming, and the end of the age. In this section, teaching on the near destruction of Jerusalem and the return of the Son of Man are mingled together. There are four parables taught and we will discuss the third concerning the Return: The Parable of the Wise and Foolish Virgins.

READ Scripture- This is the Word of God

This parable concerns the waiting period until the Lord Jesus’ return. The intention is to describe future events and by doing so, urge a response in the here and now. As we move through the text, we will keep one, primary focus: *Waiting for the Lord’s return involves preparations for a long delay.*

[READ First Line] Then the Kingdom of Heaven shall be likened…
A. At the time of Christ’s Return it will be something like this parable.
B. Not every individual parabolic detail can be interpreted to explain every detail of the Return.
a. Then will be like…
b. We must read this as an entire picture of the Return.
C. Background of Wedding:
a. Engagement:
1. The father would choose a wife for his son.
2. Formal (and Legal) Arrangements
Couple was legally married, but didn’t live together or have physical relations.
*The parable begins with the wedding night. The proposal and preliminary arrangements have long been made. Now the time of waiting takes place- waiting for the Bridegroom.
b. Wedding:
1. About year later
2. Bridegroom/companions went to escort Bride/maids to Groom’s home.
3. Along the way, many neighbors, friends, and family would join.
4. Marriage supper (public celebration) was held at the house of the Bridegroom
The parable ends at the home of the Bridegroom.

[READ vv. 1-2] The Virgins
A. Various interpretations
1. Children of Friends and Neighbors
2. Servants of the Bridegroom
3. Bridesmaids (Can Rule Out)
a. Would not be on the road
b. Would not supply own oil
c. Would not be excluded at the Bridegroom’s house
B. Most likely young women waiting to join the procession to the party.
C. The parade would move through the streets at night using the light of oil-fed torches, for lack of street lights. As they move through the town, they pick people along the way and these people are expected to have torches. The 10 girls were waiting for the group to get to them so that they could join in and be taken to the home of the groom where the joyous party would continue all night and possibly even a week.

[READ vv. 3-9] The Bridegroom Delayed
A. The majority of people agree that the Bridegroom is the Lord Jesus.
a. Yahweh calls Himself the Husband of Israel in the OT
b. Jesus calls Himself the Husband of the Church in the NT
B. The delay of the Bridegroom is a major point in the parable.
a. The delay is what distinguishes the wise from the foolish.
b. It is presupposed that the foolish took oil in their lamps just as the wise and they were interested in going to the party like the wise.
c. v. 4 “But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.”
d. By the way, nothing is made of the group sleeping.
e. The wise made preparations for a long delay while the foolish did not.

[READ vv.10-12] And the Door was Shut
A. Waiting for the Bridegroom involved preparations for a long delay.
B. Preparedness and prudence cannot be shared or in any way benefit the foolish.
C. The foolish virgins did not forget oil, but willingly chose to not take any extra. The group set out together, yet five prepared and five didn’t in the group of ten. You have to think that the wise warned the foolish that they weren’t bringing enough oil!
D. It is not that people who desired to be in the wedding party were refused, but rather that they never made the preparations needed to be accepted.

Conclusion: v. 13 reiterates the theme of the section and the parable. Watch! Be Prepared!
The difference between the 5 wise and the 5 foolish is that the wise took extra oil.
Oil has been interpreted in many ways including: good works, grace, and the Holy Spirit.
These three are obviously lacking. **The point is that the wise are prepared for a long delay.

Waiting for the Lord’s return involves preparations for a long delay.
We must be strategic for now and the future. There is a waiting period. We have our defining moment, make a commitment to the Lord, and then we realize there is still time remaining.
What do we do with this time? What is this interim period for? Why has the Lord left us here?
1. Preparatory Period: To Prepare Ourselves
a. Spiritual Growth by assembling ourselves together for study.
(Spiritual Learnedness) - Colossians 1:9
b. Glorifying God - Colossians 1:16
2. Preparatory Period: To Prepare Others
a. Teach the Gospel (Matthew 28:20) / Be Peace-Makers (Matthew 5:9)
b. Our preparation may not be transferable, but we can prepare others through teaching.

SEE John 17:15 “I do not pray that You should take them out of the world…”

We have a preparatory period.

Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour…

Waiting for the Lord’s return involves preparations for a long delay.