By Toni Ford
One of the methods Jesus used in communicating His message to the people and to His disciples was through parables, which basically are earthly stories with a heavenly meaning. His disciples asked Him in Matthew 13:10, “Why do You speak to them in parables?” Jesus basically replied in Matthew 13: 11, 14-15, by saying it was due to the unwillingness on the part of the people to receive His message of the kingdom. The truths of the kingdom of God might have been heard by the people but not understood. It was not because God was hiding the truth from them but rather because they did not want to hear it.
In Matthew 25, we find two of these parables. Matthew 25: 1-13 is known as the Parable of the 10 Bridesmaids. The story is based on a Near Eastern wedding, a scenario familiar to Jesus’ original audience. Following nuptials at the bride’s home, a welcoming party escorts the newly married couple to the bridegroom’s house for the lengthy reception. Attendants guide these evening processions with their “lamps” (Matt. 25:3-4), which are likely torches made of olive oil-doused cloths mounted on sticks. Wise members of the bridal party carry extra oil in case their torches need to be relit.
In Jesus’ parable, the bridegroom for whom the 10 virgins are waiting for is the Savior Himself (v. 1). Jesus is here implicitly claiming to be God incarnate; the Old Testament often pictures the Creator as a groom and His people as His bride. The bridegroom’s arrival is clearly taking longer than expected, for all 10 ladies fall asleep (Matt. 25:2-5).
Two important truths or warnings stood out to me from this parable.
Stay alert. Matthew 25:5 says, “When the bridegroom was delayed, they all became drowsy and fell asleep.” In this case, sleeping does not signify rest, for sleeping is part of life, and here we see that all 10 bridesmaids slept. Instead, sleeping in this parable is simply avoiding the ordinary activities of life and not using time wisely to see what needs to get done and then doing it. We are not called to go up on a mountain and gaze idly into the sky. Instead, we are called to do our work first and then sleep. There is much to do in preparation of the Lord’s return, and He is returning sooner rather than later! How much time are you spending working and preparing for the Lord’s return?
Prepare your lamp. Matthew 25: 7-9 says, “All the bridesmaids got up and prepared their lamps. Then the five foolish ones asked the others, ‘Please give us some of your oil because our lamps are going out.’ But the others replied, ‘We don’t have enough for all of us. Go to a shop and buy some for yourselves.’ We find out that they did leave and go to a shop to buy some more oil, but while they were gone, the bridegroom came. Once he arrived, those who went in entered the marriage feast and locked the door behind them so that no one else could enter (Matthew 25:10-11). The “oil” represents the Holy Spirit, and the five wise bridesmaids who had plenty of oil is an example of being filled with the Holy Spirit because of time spent with Jesus.
These five had bridesmaids possessed a deeper level of intimacy with the Lord because they had taken time to be with Him. Therefore, they were filled with an anointing that helped them endure the wait of the bridegroom.
We can share knowledge of Jesus with others, but we cannot share our own personal intimacy we have with Him. That is something each person must seek for themselves. The rewards for doing so leave us with a greater anointing to handle our day to day situations. How would you measure your intimacy with the Lord?
Lord, thank you that you are returning soon. Please make us mindful of the work and preparation that needs to be done in the present and help us to be faithful to pursue you for greater intimacy. We need you Lord, and we need your anointing!
If you would like me to join you in prayer please email me at email@example.com. I would love to pray for you!