Golden Nursing Center in Mannington, NJ –Evening
Service on 11/16/2017
(edited July 2021)
As His arrest approaches (which was known only to Him at that time) Christ continues teaching the Disciples. They are located on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem:
Verse 1: “Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom.”
Back in chapter 24 Jesus had laid out for them the facts about Judgement Day. But here in chapter 25 He is trying to explain the emotional impact of the End Times and the internal reality of Heaven. This is the last time He will attempt to teach these things and He is speaking here only to those men who had followed Him, and, I suppose, to those of us who truly want to follow Him today.
Verses 2-4: “And five of them were wise, and five were foolish. They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them: But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.”
So, these young women are at a wedding. Can you picture the pomp and splendor? In our day weddings are becoming more and more elaborate and entertaining. Almost like a show sometimes, or so I’m told. I got married a long time ago! It may not have been so different back then. It seems to me, also, that our formal religion and worship are getting more and more like a “show” in many ways.
Christ describes the lamps these ladies were carrying at the wedding. All the lamps looked the same and everything seemed to be in order. But half of the lamps were actually useless because they were empty. That happens to me sometimes. I get lost in all the pomp and circumstance of formal religion. And no matter how goody good or religious I may appear on the outside, on the inside I become selfish and empty.
Verses 5-7: “While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps.”
There was no urgency over these lamps until the bridegroom came. I believe that in this parable the lamps represent the hearts and souls of those who dwell on the Earth. The bridegroom represents Christ returning at the end of this world for His Bride, the Church. While I’m sticking my neck out, I would also say that the oil is the Holy Spirit that today fills those who have received the “New Birth” of Salvation through faith in Jesus.
Verses 8-13: “ And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out. But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves. And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut. Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not. Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.”
The wise and the foolish young women all slept will they waited for the bridegroom. In real life, we are all doing many things while as we await our Bridegroom to return from Heaven. But at the end, once Christ has returned, it will be too late to repent and believe just as it was too late for the foolish young women to get oil to light their lamps.
This next parable is about how we live AFTER we profess to believe in Christ:
Verses 14-26: “ For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods. And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey. Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents. And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two. But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord's money. After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them. And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more. His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. He also that had received two talents came and said, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents: behold, I have gained two other talents beside them. His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed: And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine. His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed:”
The business owner in this parable was disappointed and upset with his employee.
Verses 27-29: “ Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury. Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents. For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath.”
But this story isn’t really about business or handling money. They are just models used to make the a much bigger point. How can we know that? Look at this:
Verse 30: “And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
Christ is speaking about the eternal destiny of our souls! It amazes me how, sometimes, if you just hang around the Scriptures long enough, a passage will begin to interpret itself! This is a great example of that.
The Greatest Teacher Who ever lived is now pulling out all the stops on the organ. Suddenly, He has jumped out of parable mode and now speaks very bluntly to the Disciples He Loves so much (and He’s speaking to us that way too, beloved):
Verses 31-34: “ When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:”
Jesus didn’t use parables to be cute. He did it for the sake of our weak minds. He tried to take it slow in these heavy matters, for our sakes. But now His time on Earth is running out. He must explain what will make the difference between being saved or being damned for eternity. He wants to make sure we can all recognize that. It’s now or never and He wants us to know the Truth. And, as the last parable taught us, it’s really about investment, not about religion, per say. It’s about how we handle the things He has put into our trust in this world. Listen:
Verses 35-40: “For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”
It’s getting to be time for me to get out the old video version of Dickens’ “Christmas Carol.” Anybody else enjoy that story? Remember what the ghost of Jacob Marley tells Scrouge about why being a cut-throat businessman has led to torment in the afterlife? Now, this is pure fiction, not Scripture. But still, when Scrouge tries to console his old partner by reminding him of their financial successes in the business world, Marley screams back at him, “NO, MANKIND WAS MY BUSINESS!” A business he waited too long to attend, and now it was impossible for him to do anything about it. It’s quite a scene there as he weeps and wails. Marley is trying to warn old Scrouge to change before it is too late for him also!
Verses 41-44: “Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?”
As long as anyone is in need, Jesus is in need! When it is in our power to relieve anyone’s suffering, and we act with compassion toward them, Christ is comforted as well. THIS is the measure of a person. THIS is Christ’s Key to the Kingdom of God and eternal life.
Verses 45-46: “Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.”
Now, wait a minute, you may be thinking, shouldn’t Jesus have said that it was all based on faith? Well, Jesus says what He says, even if it’s not what you or I may want to hear or expect to hear. Apparently, faith without compassion and Love is not faith. It’s just not worth anything in eternity. Let’s pray.