Devotional Thoughts for Today
Matt. 25:1-13 (NIV): “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.”
I’m embarrassed to admit it, but in college, I once opened the class syllabus for the first time the day before the final exam to see what I needed to study. So, the one change I made after becoming a Christian was getting things done early; that is, not procrastinating.
This parable, about the ancient Jewish wedding day, has the bridegroom arrive at the house of his bride’s father at midnight for the ceremony. Upon his sudden arrival, the door is closed and the late comers aren’t admitted. Afterwards, the husband would take his wife home in a wedding procession, and then celebrate the banquet that lasts for a week. Since the procession typically occurs in darkness, the guests would bring lamps to light the way; and those without it are prohibited to be on the street.
Now, the wedding represents “the wedding of the Lamb” in which Christ will officially unite with “his bride,” that is, the church (Rev. 19:7); this occurs just prior to the ushering in of eternity. Not being “invited to the wedding . . . of the Lamb” (9), therefore, would mean you’re neither a believer nor going to heaven. In the parable, the virgins who show up to the wedding unprepared end up missing the entire ceremony. What’s worse, the bride’s father claims not to know them.
So, who are these foolish virgins? They’re the great pretenders, like Judas, Demas (2 Tim. 4:10) and many who ate the loaves (Jn. 6:11, 64-6), “whose going showed that none of them belonged to [church]” (1 Jn. 2:19). They’re the weeds that are allowed to grow together with wheat until the harvest (Matt. 13:30). They’re the possessors of “faith” that even “demons [have] . . . and shudder” (James 2:19), but ultimately doesn’t save because “faith without deeds” is “dead” (v.25).
In view of this, the best sign indicating one’s true Christian faith is a life lived out in anticipation of Christ’s coming (or our going). Does your lifestyle suggest that this world is your destination or a place to prepare for your eternity? Give it a thought; make adjustments if feel convicted.
O Lord, I lift Your name on high! I love to sing your praises, and I’m so glad You are in my life. Cause me not to forget that I’ll soon see You. Perhaps You’ll return during my time, or I will pass from this earthly existence into heaven, but help me always to be ready. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Isaiah 62
Lunch Break Study
Read Rev. 19:6-8 (NASB): “Then I heard something like the voice of a great multitude and like the sound of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, saying, “Hallelujah! For the Lord our God, the Almighty, reigns.  Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready.”  It was given to her to clothe herself in fine linen, bright and clean; for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.
Rev. 2:9-10 (NIV): “I know your afflictions (Philadelphia Church) and your poverty—yet you are rich! I know about the slander of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan.  Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you life as your victor’s crown.”
2 Pet. 3:3-4 (NIV): Above all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires.  They will say, “Where is this ‘coming’ he promised? Ever since our ancestors died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.”
Question to Consider
- How does the bride look on the wedding day? What does that mean for the church?
- What is one of the ways through which God prepares the bride? What’s its purpose?
- In the parable of the virgins, they all fell asleep. What does that mean spiritually? Are you awake or asleep spiritually?
- She is ready in her splendid outfit of fine linen. That means that the church is not only righteous because the righteousness of Christ has been imputed on her, but she is also righteous inside (ontologically) which produces “the righteous acts of the saints.”
- There is nothing like tribulation and persecution that remove the pretenders from the true church of Christ. The “foolish virgins” will be the first ones to bail out of the church when it becomes inconvenient and not cost-effective to stay.
- If we talk too much about the second coming of Christ without also focusing on the church’s current responsibility, then the talk of his imminent return can get redundant and passé if he doesn’t come as expected. That gives the scoffers more ammunition to criticize our hope in Christ’s return. Thus, our hope for his return and our responsibility to the world should be held in a fine balance.
We are always getting ready for something—a meeting, gathering, or trip. How are you getting ready for that day when you will meet the Lord? Reflect on how you lived today; does it look like you were getting ready? What needs to change so that when your time to depart comes, you will be ready?