Jesus told several parables in response to questions about the kingdom of heaven and the end of time. Matthew 25:1-13 is one of those parables that stressed the importance of being prepared. Scroll down for a more complete description.
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Jesus uses a story of a wedding to make a point of being prepared for His second coming. In those days weddings involved the groom traveling from his house to the house of his bride-to-be in the evening where the wedding would be held. The virgin bride's maids had to bring lighted lamps to light the way and enter the wedding celebration. In this parable, Jesus says the groom was very late in arriving at night. The bride's maids had fallen asleep waiting. The wise ones were prepared for the arrival of the groom no matter what time he arrived, so they had brought oil for their lamps. The unwise brought no oil. With no lit lamps they would not be allowed to enter. The oil here is believed to be symbolic of the indwelling Holy Spirit. The wedding house represents heaven and the groom represents Jesus himself. The story stresses the importance of being ready for the return of Jesus, which could happen at any time.
Jesus said: “At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish and five were wise. The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. The wise ones, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep. At midnight the cry rang out: 'Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!' Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish ones said to the wise, 'Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.’ 'No,’ they replied, ‘there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.’ But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut. Later the others also came. ‘Lord, Lord,’ they said, ‘open the door for us!’ But he replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I don’t know you.’ Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour." Matthew 25:1-13
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