Study of Matthew 25:1-13 ~ My answers to BSF study questions
From this parable about relationship to Christ:
3. a. Similarities: Ways the wise virgins were similar to the foolish ones:
- All went to await the bridegroom’s arrival.
- All brought lamps.
- All had oil in their lamps.
- All “got drowsy and began to sleep.” NASB
- When the bridegroom arrived, they all hurriedly trimmed their lamps.
b. The wise virgins are the ones prepared for Christ’s return.
The foolish virgins are those who profess to be ready, but are unprepared and otherwise occupied with the world when the time arrives. They also followed advice from the wise virgins. “Not all the advice we are given by those waiting with us yield the best outcomes for us!” —Love that quote from http://seraph-says.blogspot.com/2011/12/about-those-ten-virgins.html
I have to admit, this parable perplexes me. The fact that all were eager for the bridegroom’s return, had lamps and some oil, it seems they are believers and have a measure of the Holy Spirit.
I’ve heard this parable interpreted in the following ways:
- The foolish virgins were not filled with the Holy Spirit.
- The foolish virgins were back-sliders.
- The foolish virgins didn’t pray enough.
I reject those interpretations as judgmental and condemning. In the past, hearing these warnings left me apprehensive rather than focused on the wedding banquet. Our motivation should be one of love and adoration of our bridegroom rather than fear of rejection.
Update: Note from lecture—during Jesus’ time, part of the celebration was not knowing when the bridegroom would come. The bride, her family, and friends waited. It was often a long wait, and usually was a night. Not having a burning lamp to carry would signify a lack of honor. While it seems to us the wise virgins were selfish because they did not share oil, it was pointed out that somethings cannot be shared. A readiness for Jesus’ return is one of those things. I’ve heard it said, “God doesn’t have grandchildren.”
4. How to be prepared for Jesus’ return—
a. Matthew 7:13-14—Don’t follow the crowd. They are on the wrong path. There is only one path that leads to the desirable destination.
Matthew 7:24-27—A wise man builds his house on the Rock foundation. He is ready for adversity. His house can withstand the wind and floods.
Matthew 24:4-5, 42, 44—Avoid deception. Jesus wouldn’t have said to avoid it unless it was possible. We must be alert and ask the Holy Spirit to alert us when something is wrong. Follow that inner warning. Be alert and ready.
John 1:12—”But to as many as did receive and welcome Him, He gave the authority (power, privilege, right) to become the children of God, that is, to those who believe in (adhere to, trust in, and rely on) His name—” AMP
I found the following from Barnes Notes on the New Testament helpful on that last phrase:
1st. That to be a child of God is a privilege far more so than to be the child of any man, though in the highest degree rich, or learned, or honoured. Christians are therefore more honoured than any other men.
3rd. This favour is given only to those who believe on him. All others are the children of the wicked one, and no one who has not confidence in God can be regarded as his child. No parent would acknowledge one for his child, or approve of him, who had no confidence in him, who doubted or denied all he said, and who despised his character. Yet this the sinner constantly does toward God, and he cannot, therefore, be called his son. Notes on the New Testament Explanatory and Practical.
1 Thessalonians 5:4–8—As believers, we are to live in touch with the true reality of Jesus’ return. Although our physical bodies sleep, we must not sleep spiritually. We are the light of the world. We live in the light rather than in darkness. We must remain armed and ready.
1 Thessalonians 5:23-24—”Our spirits were dead, or separated from God. At the new birth our dead spirits are made alive unto God. We Christians are completely new in our spirits. The rest of the Christian life is bringing the body and the soul under the control of this born-again spirit through the renewing of the mind. Andrew Wommack’s Living Commentary.”
In this passage, Paul is reassuring us that sanctification and readiness isn’t something we do completely on our own. I think of it as cooperating. Humility says, “I can’t do this myself. Lord, I need You!” Philippians 1:6 “For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.”
It’s important to remember our readiness isn’t the result of our own efforts and works. If we could do this all on our own, Jesus didn’t need to die.
During Jesus’ lifetime, very few believed He was the Son of God. Likewise, few heeded John the Baptist’s call for repentance.
Jesus repeatedly addressed the “posers” of His time.
b. In scripture, oil may be a picture of the Holy Spirit. Give truths about the Holy Spirit from these verses:
John 3:5–8—When we are born again, we are born of the Spirit.
Romans 8:9—Believers have the Spirit of Christ living inside them.
Ephesians 1:13–14—When we believe, we are sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit, which is a pledge of our inheritance. The only two requirements are hearing and believing.
5. I’m so thankful I heard the gospel from the time I was born from parents and a grandmother who were true believers, not hypocrites. I’m thankful I live under grace rather than law.
I’m thankful for the river of living water that flows from my innermost being.
I’m thankful my name is written in the Lamb’s book of life.