Are you ready for the bridegroom?

When writing this blog, I sometimes prepare a post in advance and schedule it for release. This is particularly useful on days when I know I am going to be busy and probably won’t get the time to write. Since posting daily over the last couple of weeks, this is increasingly important.

Today was a day when I had a post already written and scheduled, yet as I was praying this morning, I had the sense that I needed to write something different.

The pre-written post will come out another day of course, so won’t go to waste, but I felt especially pressed to share on the parable of the ten virgins today.

Jesus told a story about ten virgins. This sounds a little odd to our ears, but what He was referring to was ten young women who were prepared for marriage. In His day, betrothed women would await the coming of their bridegroom. They would not know when exactly he would come, so they would have to keep watch and be ready.

The parable comes from Matthew’s Gospel, and goes like this:

Then the Kingdom of Heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. 2 Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. 3 Those who were foolish, when they took their lamps, took no oil with them, 4 but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. 5 Now while the bridegroom delayed, they all slumbered and slept. 6 But at midnight there was a cry, ‘Behold! The bridegroom is coming! Come out to meet him!’ 7 Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps.[a] 8 The foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ 9 But the wise answered, saying, ‘What if there isn’t enough for us and you? You go rather to those who sell, and buy for yourselves.’ 10 While they went away to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding feast, and the door was shut. 11 Afterward the other virgins also came, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open to us.’ 12 But he answered, ‘Most certainly I tell you, I don’t know you.’ 13 Watch therefore, for you don’t know the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming.

Matthew 25:1-13 (WEB)

Jesus is deliberately contrasting the five wise virgins with the five unwise ones. The five who were wise went out well prepared. They took sufficient oil with them, ready for the potentially long wait. The other five were not well prepared and so came up short. While they were away getting their oil, they missed the coming of the bridegroom and were locked outside.

There is a clear warning for all of us here. We must prepare and be ready for the coming of the Bridegroom. That is, we must be ready for when Jesus returns.

We must not only prepare once, but live prepared. We do not know the day or the hour when He might return, and so we must treat every day like it is the one where we see His coming.

When I look at my life, I sometimes try to imagine Jesus returning. What will HE find me doing when He appears? I hope He finds me being a good witness, living in obedience and I’m not wasting my time on pointless TV or worse sinfulness.

My point is to simply tel you to be ready for His appearing. Make sure you are right with Jesus, and that you have trusted your life to Him. Time is finite for us, and we will all only have so many opportunities to respond to God’s call. It really will be too late one day, so don’t put it off.

I could end the post here, but the parable has more to say than this. What I have said above is not untrue, but let’s look at it again.

All ten virgins were awaiting the coming of the bridegroom. Verse one tells us that all ten took up their lamps and went out. The way I describe the warning from the parable above sounds more like a warning to those outside of the church – that is, those who don’t know Jesus. Yet, maybe this parable is meant for the church itself, and not those outside.

The church is described as the “Bride of Christ,” and so this parable is indeed fitting to be applied to it. The virgins, wise or otherwise, all went out to meet their bridegroom. The whole church went out to meet Christ, but some were not ready. This parable may in fact be a warning to those in the church that we should not lapse in our readiness for Christ.

We do not want to be counted among the unwise virgins, locked out of the wedding feast because we were not ready.

Whichever way you apply the parable – to the world or to the church, the message is the same. Be ready for Jesus.

How can you do that today?

You must start and continue to trust in Him. Your good works cannot save you. The only thing that can deal with our sin once and for all is the precious blood of Jesus. He shed that blood on the cross so that you could go free.

If you are part of a church, yet have not made a commitment to Jesus, then you are one of the unwise. Church attendance does not save you, only Jesus does. That is not to say that church is unimportant of course, but it is not enough.

Set aside some time to pray to the Father. Don’t wait until tomorrow; do it today! Talk to God about where you are spiritually. Confess your sins, and ask Him to forgive you. He is so willing to do so! Ask Him to help you prepare for the coming of Christ. Whether it is one hour, one day or one century away, there is no better time than now to be ready.

Where do you stand?

31 “But when the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory. 32 Before him all the nations will be gathered, and he will separate them one from another, as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. 34 Then the King will tell those on his right hand, ‘Come, blessed of my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; 35 for I was hungry and you gave me food to eat. I was thirsty and you gave me drink. I was a stranger and you took me in. 36 I was naked and you clothed me. I was sick and you visited me. I was in prison and you came to me.’

37 “Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you a drink? 38 When did we see you as a stranger and take you in, or naked and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and come to you?’

40 “The King will answer them, ‘Most certainly I tell you, because you did it to one of the least of these my brothers,[c] you did it to me.’ 41 Then he will say also to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire which is prepared for the devil and his angels; 42 for I was hungry, and you didn’t give me food to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave me no drink; 43 I was a stranger, and you didn’t take me in; naked, and you didn’t clothe me; sick, and in prison, and you didn’t visit me.’

44 “Then they will also answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and didn’t help you?’

45 “Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Most certainly I tell you, because you didn’t do it to one of the least of these, you didn’t do it to me.’ 46 These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

Matthew 25:31-46 (WEB)

I know this is a long passage to start this post with, but I wanted you to be able to read the whole thing and let its challenging words sink in. 

Where do you stand? On the left, or on the right? And I don’t mean politically…

When the news about the corona virus first broke in the early part of this year, I’ll admit to being a little flippant about it. I never imagined it would impact the lives of us all in such ways. 

Reading the news and various social media feeds, I see a rather bleak picture and many individuals who are very scared right now. I thank God that this virus is no worse than it is, but certainly appreciate the heavy impact it will have on many families – particularly those who are vulnerable or elderly. 

It makes you think, doesn’t it? Some doctors are urging we discuss and prepare for the fact that this virus may take the lives of those we love. Are we ready for that? 

I mentioned in my post the other day – Coronavirus – that some had claimed this virus was a sign of the End Times. If you’re not sure what I mean by that, the Bible teaches that one day Jesus will return for His people. There are many diverse views about exactly how this will happen, but essentially all Christians agree HE will return sooner or later. There are certain signs which precede His coming and perhaps this virus is one of them. You can do your own study on that. 

Either way though, the Corona virus gives us pause. It is an opportunity to face the big questions in life. What happens when we die? Are we prepared for the return of the Lord Jesus? Where can we turn when it feels like the world is falling apart? 

Do you have adequate answers to these questions? 

The passage above from Matthew’s Gospel is often called the parable of the sheep and the goats. It depicts the end of time when we will all stand before Jesus’ throne and He will judge us. This is known as the Great White Throne judgement. I’m not entirely sure it is right to call this a parable, as it may not be an illustration at all, but precisely how it will be. 

There is much we could say about this passage. One of the scarier elements is that those who thought they were doing well, were not, and those who did no think they were doing so well, were commended. 

So, where do you stand? Are you a sheep or a goat? It is a question we must all ask ourselves, and answer honestly. Ignoring the question is not an option. We must not wait until we get there to find out, as it will then be too late. 

How can you be sure? How can you know whether you will be counted among the sheep or the goats? The passage itself suggests it is not about what we do, as those who did “spiritual” things were counted as goats. 

The answer does not lie in the activities we participated in, nor in our own “good works.” Our best works are going to look rather shabby when we stand before the Throne of God. 

There is only one way to heaven, and His Name is Jesus Christ. The difference between the sheep and the goats is that the sheep put their lives in the hands of the Good Shepherd. The goats went their own way. 

If you want to find out more about the way to heaven, then check out my post – One Way. 

For the vast majority of people, this Coronavirus will not take their life – praise God. But the questions posed above are still important. None of us can beat the clock, and every one of us will – sadly – die one day. Even if we are the generation to see the return of Jesus Christ, then we sill need to be prepared. Are you? 

So what will it be? Are you a sheep or a goat?