“Then the Kingdom of Heaven will be like ten bridesmaids[a] who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. 2 Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. 3 The five who were foolish didn’t take enough olive oil for their lamps, 4 but the other five were wise enough to take along extra oil. 5 When the bridegroom was delayed, they all became drowsy and fell asleep. 6 “At midnight they were roused by the shout, ‘Look, the bridegroom is coming! Come out and meet him!’ 7 “All the bridesmaids got up and prepared their lamps. 8 Then the five foolish ones asked the others, ‘Please give us some of your oil because our lamps are going out.’ 9 “But the others replied, ‘We don’t have enough for all of us. Go to a shop and buy some for yourselves.’ 10 “But while they were gone to buy oil, the bridegroom came. Then those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was locked. 11 Later, when the other five bridesmaids returned, they stood outside, calling, ‘Lord! Lord! Open the door for us!’ 12 “But he called back, ‘Believe me, I don’t know you!’ 13 “So you, too, must keep watch! For you do not know the day or hour of my return.
This is not one of my favorite stories. I suppose the reason is that it contains the sting of judgment, a door closed which will not be opened. I really don’t like “Too late” stories, I prefer “Happy every after.”
The story teaches us three very simple lessons…
NUMBER ONE–THE STORY TEACHES US TO BE PREPARED FOR THE INEVITABLE
Jewish wedding are nothing like what we are accustomed to. First the Groom went and claimed his bride from her parents and then he brought her back to his father’s house for the wedding. The wedding did not start at a certain time, they started whenever the bridegroom returned. The wedding did not a few minutes or even a few hours; they lasted 7 days. Once the bridegroom returned with his bride, he entered his father’s house and the celebration was on.
This is the picture Christ gave to us of Himself, He is the groom and the church is the bride. He is coming to claim His bride and then take us to His Father’s house for a long celebration.
Five of the virgins were wise, they were prepared but five were foolish. The greek word for ‘foolish’ is moros from which we get moron. In other words, five of the bridesmaids were wise and five were morons. Why would they be morons? Because they knew the customs, they knew that the Groom came unannounced at whatever time his father deemed and they were not prepared.
How foolish is it to not prepare for things that are inevitable. June and I just purchased our tomb lot a few weeks ago. Our next step is to buy our rock and have it sat. I just lost a good friend to cancer. He knew weeks in advance that we had only a short time and he had his son carry to the Funeral home where he picked out everything. He picked out his Pallbearers, he wrote thank you cards in advance. His son gave me an envelope where he had purchased $300 in Cracker Barrel cards for my wife and I. He was prepared. He left no stone unturned.
Wise people prepare: foolish people procrastinate. Are you ready to die? Are you prepared.
NUMBER TWO: THIS STORY TEACHES US THAT THERE IS NO PROXY SALVATION
When the bridegroom came, the foolish and unprepared virgins turned to the ones who were prepared saying “Give us oil,” but they refused. They said we don’t have enough for ourselves and you. You must go buy oil. I had a driver when I went to Iraq named John. He was a Babylonian Assyrian and proud of it. He had a rather belligerent attitude toward our entire group. Finally, I ask him, “John, are you a Christian?” “Yes” he said, “I was born a Christian.” He did not say he was a ‘born again Christian,’ he said he was born into the Christian faith. I understand this is what the Greek Orthodox Church teaches. I tried to explain to him that you have to be born again and you cannot be born into but he did not understand.
You can’t go to heaven on the faith of your parents or friends. You must trust Christ personally. You have to repent of your sins and ask Him to save you. Being Greek Orthodox will not help. Being Baptist will not help either. Salvation is in Christ and Christ alone.
NUMBER THREE: THIS STORY TEACHES US THERE IS A TIME WHEN IT IS “TOO LATE”
“But while they were gone to buy oil, the bridegroom came. Then those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was locked. Later, when the other five bridesmaids returned, they stood outside, calling, ‘Lord! Lord! Open the door for us!’ “But he called back, ‘Believe me, I don’t know you!’ In other words, “It is too late.”
There are some who teach that people have additional time to be saved after the return of Christ but there is nothing in scripture to support their belief. Let me remind you that mankind does not have a good track record on interpreting scripture. The Jews, who were not short on knowledge, totally miss interpreted the first advent and these so called “Prophecy Expects” could be wrong. I would put my faith in Jesus, not some theory that you will have another chance after He comes for His bride.
I read a story about a young man named John. He died at the age of 28 after a three- to four-year-long addiction to Vicodin that his own mother was not aware of and they lived in the same house. John was a very high-functioning addict.
John’s teenage years were very trying, as he was drinking and smoking pot almost every day. Calls from the police in the middle of the night were becoming common. And yet, he looked like the proverbial boy next door. He was an outstanding athlete, with many trophies and awards. He played baseball and was also very gifted intellectually and artistically.
John settled down, got a good job and worked long hours but he fell at work and hurt his back. He was prescribed Vicodin and went for his physical therapy regularly. His mom was very concerned about John taking Vicodin, and she questioned him about continuing to take the drug after his physical therapy had ended. John lied to his mom.
John’s addiction grew worse and then one morning John pounded on his mom’s bedroom door doubled over in pain and begging her to take him to the hospital. He was diagnosed with pancreatitis, but lied to the doctor about his drug use. When his mom went home to get some things for him, she found literally hundreds of empty little pill bottles stashed all over in his room. She also found what he titled his “Drug Schedule.” He was taking 30 to 40 pills a day, and it was eating up his whole paycheck, which finally explained why John has grown dependent on his mom.
On October 4, 2008, John went into cardiac arrest while he was still in the hospital—the day before he was scheduled to be discharged. This led to his being put on life support, which was shocking for his mom who days earlier did not realize that there was a problem. Doctors and nurses worked frantically with John but he did not make it. The medical examiner who performed John’s autopsy said that John was a ‘dead man walking.’ The acetaminophen in the massive amount of Vicodin he was taking damaged every single one of his vital organs. He never stood a chance.
John could have been helped had he not waited until it was too late.