Are there certain passages of Scripture that attract your attention and curiosity more than others? As much as we esteem the whole Word of God, when Jesus starts talking about the Wise and the Foolish Virgins, we edge a little closer in our seats.
The Whom? Why? What?
This is not great bedtime reading, either, not if we are at all unsure under which heading we would fall, Wise or Foolish.
While we are still gasping for breath (the Bridegroom said what???), Jesus tells us the story of the Master who went away and left his servants with five, two, and one talents and expected them to give good return for his trust in them.
The Master said what???
Every time I read this chapter (Matthew 25,) I say the same thing to the Lord: I do not think I fully understand this!
Who are the Virgins? I have heard the sermons, but who are they, really?
What does the oil represent? I think I know, but do I have it right?
Why couldn’t the Wise share at least a little with the Foolish?
Why did they all fall asleep in the first place? Shouldn’t the parable be about staying awake?
And relative to the talents the servants received, why did some get more than others?
What were they supposed to do with their talents, that the one servant feared to do?
Why was no grace extended to the one poor fellow who didn’t invest well?
Over the years, when I read passages like this one that make a very strong point, having to do with life or death, and in these cases with eternal life or death, I have had to become simple enough to pull from Scripture what I am able to see, the things that can be known without deep theological referendum, and I have come to believe that it is probably what I should have been doing all along.
Someone counted sixty-six occurrences in Scripture that tell us in one way or another, to watch and pray, and I would not be surprised if we could find many more. I have never counted, but I have read through the Gospels marking them all, and they are everywhere.
Not only that, but there are the “see to it” verses, which Mr. Sixty-Six did not count! We surely do not want to overlook those! Taken together, here is one of those rare places where the Lord repeats Himself, and continually.
Here is one sample from the Old Testament, one you may know, a beautiful reminder:
But as for me, I will watch expectantly for the Lord;
I will wait for the God of my salvation.
My God will hear me.
Micah 7:7, NASB
Oh, my dear friends, all of this stirs up something in my heart, something that sounds like this, I believe . . .
We don’t want to be Foolish, and we are already Wise, wise enough to have called upon the Lord Jesus Christ for His saving grace, for the covering of His blood, for the redemption of our souls and our lives. We aren’t foolish, then, are we, and yet are not the “Virgins,” believers? These have gone out, with lamps and oil, to meet the Bridegroom! Whom else could they be, and what have they to do with us? Why did Jesus tell this story?
We don’t want to be afraid, either! Look! The servant in the next parable, the one who was given only one talent to invest, was fearful, seemingly terrified of his Master, and where did that get him? We do not want to be afraid because we never want to see the Father like that. We are numbered among those who believe that Jesus lived and died that we might not fear, that we might know the love of God.
We do fear God, but not like that, not cringing and withholding.
Tune in tomorrow, and let’s look together at these two splendid archways into the lives we have been given to live in Christ Jesus.
The Parable of the Ten Virgins
Phoebe Anna Traquair, by permission, Wikipedia