July 28 I Tuesday
“Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come.” —Matthew 24:42
The second coming of Christ is a hotly debated topic in Christian circles. Some people have made a business out of predicting when Jesus will return, but Jesus was very clear on the foolishness of this. He said, “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father” (Matthew 24:36). Jesus instructed His disciples, which include every Christian, to wait patiently but with anticipation. Jesus could return at any time, so we must be alert and ready.
In Matthew 25, Jesus told three parables that illustrate how we are to be in readiness. The first parable distinguishes the wise from the foolish and is about ten bridesmaids or as some translations say, “ten virgins.” In this context, the bridesmaids are unmarried girls attending to a bride who is awaiting the bridegroom to arrive for his wedding. According to Jewish custom, the bridegroom could arrive at any moment of his choosing, which could mean at any time over certain days or even weeks. The bridal party would have to be perpetually ready for his coming, even if he arrived in the middle of the night.
Knowing this, five of the bridesmaids in the parable brought with them oil for their lamps, while the other five foolishly took no oil at all. At midnight, they were awoken by a cry, announcing that the bridegroom was coming. The five who did not have oil asked the others for some, but there was not enough to share. They had to hurry to buy some oil, while the five bridesmaids who were in readiness quickly trimmed their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. They entered the wedding banquet with him and the door was shut behind them. When the five foolish girls returned, despite their cry for the door to be opened, they were refused entry. They were too late.
The lesson from the five foolish bridesmaids is that there are some things that cannot be left to the last minute and there are responsibilities that cannot be transferred to others. There is a time coming when getting ready will no longer be an option. The response of the bridegroom to the knocking on the door by the five girls locked outside is a decisive rejection. Some scholars interpret oil as a symbol of the Holy Spirit, who is the essential ingredient in being prepared, as it is the indwelling of the Holy Spirit that makes us ready to meet Christ. Our welcome into the kingdom, symbolized by admittance to the wedding feast, depends entirely on whether we have prepared in advance by believing in Jesus and receiving His Spirit.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, I do not want to be caught unprepared on the day I stand before You. I trust Your death and resurrection for salvation and am grateful for the Holy Spirit who now lives in me. Thank You, Lord.