Title: Jesus is coming back
Matthew 25 vs 1-46
Alike in Many Ways
One of the most striking facts about this story is how similar the ten virgins appear on the surface:
- All had been invited the banquet and all had responded positively.
- All ten had gone out to wait for the bridegroom.
- All of them had their lamps with them.
- All the virgins wanted to see the bridegroom.
- All were in the right place at the right time for the right reason.
- All of them wanted to go to the wedding banquet.
- All had some oil in their lamps at the beginning.
- All fell asleep while waiting for the bridegroom.
- All were awakened by the midnight cry.
- All ten virgins got up to prepare their lamps.
- All appeared to be equally prepared for the bridegroom’s coming.
Romans 12 vs 9-21 >> Christian conduct
Acts 1 vs 9-11
Revelation 1 vs 7 >> Everyone shall see him when he comes
1 Thessalonians 4 vs 16-17
Matthew 16 vs 27
Matthew 24 vs 36-39
Matthew 24 vs 40-44
- The bridesmaids are the church that is waiting for the Second Coming.
- The bridegroom is Christ.
- The wedding feast is the great and joyous occasion in which Christ comes for his church—the marriage supper of the Lamb (Revelation 19:9).
- The delay of the bridegroom corresponds to the delay of the Second Coming that Matthew’s church had experienced.
- The bridegroom’s arrival in the dark of night is the Second Coming itself.
- The closing of the door is the final judgment.
Vs 2: Matthew 7:24-27
Vs 5: Proverbs 13: 12
• In the Parable of the Faithful and Unfaithful Slave (24:45-51), the faithful slave is the one found at work when the master returns. Being prepared—having oil—means working faithfully for the Lord.
• In the Parable of the Talents (25:14-30), the faithful slaves use wisely the resources entrusted to their care. Being prepared—having oil—means practicing good stewardship—good ecological practices—careful management of time and money—generosity to those in need—proclamation of the Word—the possibilities go on and on.
• In the Judgment of the Nations (25:31-46), the Son of Man rewards those who feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, welcome the stranger, clothe the naked, take care of the sick, and visit the prisoner—which corresponds nicely with what Jesus identified in this Gospel as the greatest commandment—to love God and neighbor (22:37-40). Being prepared—having oil—means generosity to those in need.
(v. 6). Midnight is an unexpected hour for a significant event. Midnight is a time for sleeping, particularly for people who have only oil lamps or candles for artificial light. People under those circumstances go to bed early and arise early to take full advantage of daylight hours. At midnight, they tend to be deep in slumber.
(v. 8). The foolish bridesmaids, seeing that they do not have enough oil, ask the wise bridesmaids to share theirs, which the wise bridesmaids refuse to do (v. 9). We might think the wise bridesmaids to be acting selfishly, but they are instead acting wisely. If their share their oil it will quickly be gone, and the bridegroom will have no light for his wedding party. It is far better that they use five torches to illuminate the pathway for the entire distance than to use ten torches at the beginning and thereby to risk having to walk in darkness at the end—an unimaginable breach of wedding protocol.
Pray that God would circumcise their hearts. Circumcision was the Old Testament sign of entering into God’s covenant, of being God’s people. To have a circumcised heart symbolizes having a heart that is fully joined to God, fully submissive to him. “And the LORD your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your offspring, so that you will love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live” (Deuteronomy 30:6).
Pray that God would give them a heart of flesh. The Bible contrasts a heart of flesh, a heart that is alive and responsive to God, to a heart of stone, a heart that is cold and unyielding. Pray that God would work within these unbelievers to change their hearts. “And I will give them one heart, and a new spirit I will put within them. I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of flesh…” (Ezekiel 11:19).
Pray that God would put his Spirit within them. The great joy of salvation is being indwelled by God himself. Pray that God would grant this honor to those unbelievers, that he would choose to take up residence within them. “And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules” (Ezekiel 36:27).
Pray that they would come to Christ. If unbelievers are to come to salvation, there is just one way. They must come through Christ and Christ alone. “Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me’” (John 14:6). Remember, too, that he is the one who calls them to come and to be relieved of the burden of their sin (see Matthew 11:28-30).
Pray that God would open their hearts to believe the gospel. Once more, God must initiate and people must respond. So pray that God would open the hearts of these unbelievers so they can in turn believe, just as Lydia did. “The Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what was said by Paul” (Acts 16:14).
Pray that God would free them from the slavery of sin. Unbelievers may believe they are free, but they are in fact enslaved. They are slaves of sin, bound by their sin and sinfulness. Pray that God would liberate them by his gospel. “But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed” (Romans 6:17).
Pray that God would remove Satan’s blinding influence . Unbelievers have been blinded by Satan and will only ever be able to see and appreciate the gospel if God works within them. So pray that God would give them sight—spiritual sight. “In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God” (2 Corinthians 4:4).
Pray that God would grant them repentance. Unbelievers cannot repent without the enabling grace of God. So pray that God would grant them repentance, that this repentance would lead them to a knowledge of the truth. Pray as well that they would come to their senses and that they would escape from the devil’s snare. “God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will” (2 Timothy 2:25-26).