The Sleeping Church
Which Class are You
You remember the parable in Matthew twenty five concerning the Kingdom of God that is likened unto ten virgins which took their lamps and went forth to meet the bridegroom. Jesus often in his Earthly ministry would take ordinary events and customs of the day that he might use them to relate spiritual truths to his disciples and he would do this in parables.
The Parable of the Ten Virgins
The Call Went Out
You remember the parable in Matthew twenty five concerning the Kingdom of God that is likened unto ten virgins which took their lamps and went forth to meet the bridegroom. In order to do this hub justice, I need to relate to you the reader that there were two phases to Jewish weddings.
First the bridegroom to be would visit the bride’s home and observe some religious ceremonies such as pouring a glass of wine in a glass and placing it in front of her which was a gesture of a proposal in front of her family. If she drank from the cup, this was an answer that she has accepted the proposal and is now engaged to be married to her groom later at a set date and which certain requirements would be met that would be arranged by his father.
Notice the excitement at the table as all eyes are upon her in silence to see if she will drink from the cup and the release of tensions as she takes the cup and with a smile proceeds to sip the wine.
The bridegroom then leaves her but not without leaving his best friend behind to see after her needs. The best friend is a type of God’s Spirit that is with us to encourage us when we are in severe trials and disappointments that tear at our soul. The best man is there to assure us that he still loves us and we must keep ourselves pure and ready that we would not disappoint our groom when he comes for us.
This is a type of keeping our-self unspotted from the world.
After the proposal is made, the groom must go back to his father’s house and begin making preparations to provide a place and be able to make a good living for his new bride and in Jewish custom, the father is the one that will oversee the work and let him know when everything is in order and send him to get his bride.
Most Jewish weddings were held at night and once the bride, the groom and the guests were inside, a guard was placed at the door to keep unwanted guests out. Anyone not arriving with the wedding party was denied entrance in the event someone would want to crash the party. It also was not unusual for these weddings to last for days. The call would be reported that the groom had left his fathers house to come get his bride but no one would know how many places he would stop along the way to her house. When the report was received, the bridesmaids were to give the bride purification baths and make sure she was ready to meet her espoused groom at his arrival.
Here in the gospel of Matthew, we find the ten virgins asleep.
Ministers love to use this parable often relating to a church that is asleep in troublesome times.
There are three classes of people that stand out in this parable and I shall list them for your further study.
- The Bridegroom
- The Five wise bridesmaids whose hearts were prepared to serve
- The Five foolish bridesmaids whose hearts were not prepared to serve
A. The lamp oil in this parable was used to light the path for the wedding party therefore it is and cannot represent the Holy Spirit nor can it represent Salvation for neither of these can be bought. The oil would represent our being a dedicated servant to our Lord and living a total surrendered life that would bring honor to his wonderful name.
B. The bridesmaids in this parable are not the bride; they are the young unmarried virgins who are the friends of the bride.
The foolish in this parable are likened to those in the church who are there for show. They find fault with everything but do not want to be apart of finding a solution to fixing the problem. They choose to honor themselves and shun their responsibilities thus ignoring the custom of being prepared to serve. The show type as mentioned can be found in most gatherings that call themselves a church. They may dress like professing Christians and even act like professing believers in the assembly. They may even come and worship among other believers but the difference is their hearts have not been prepared? God’s Holy Spirit is the one who will help us be prepared. Remember, The Holy Spirit is the best man that is left behind to help us be prepared to serve and complete the wedding.
The bottom line in this parable is that some people are not what they appear to be!
These foolish people were not willing to help serve and make a sacrifice for the Kingdom of God. These young bridesmaids were friends of the bride but chose to take a chance on her wedding by taking shortcuts. They thought they could do it their way and hope all would turn out right in the end but they soon found themselves an embarrassment to themselves and to the bride who had placed her trust in them.
There are some in the church today who appear to be ready to meet the Lord but have never surrendered their life to Christ. They go through all the patterns of being right and being a good church member but they have never surrendered to be a servant and serve.
Some people have gone forth attempting to build their Kingdom instead of following the command of our Lord to be a light that others may see.
Because of these five foolish young maidens choosing to do it their way, the wedding party would be made to walk in less light on a dark path.
The church body as a whole today seems to be on rocky ground. They are like a person who has found themselves in a powerful earthquake. The buildings around them are falling, concrete and steel is being twisted to pieces and they are loosing their balance. They are reeling back and forth as they try to make sense of what is taking place. Their ability to make sound decisions is limited because of all the shock and destruction that is going on around them.
My question is how did we get here and what are we going to do to try and make ourselves ready to meet our Lord when he calls?
The call has gone out that requires action on our part and according to this parable, God will honor those who are prepared.
© 2012 Jerry W Hulse