“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. … Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.”
Ten virgins wait for the bridegroom to arrive. Five are wise and bring oil for their lamps and five are foolish and have no oil. When the bridegroom finally arrives, the wise ones are ready to meet him with brightly burning lamps. The foolish ones, however scramble to find oil and get shut out from the wedding banquet.
Jesus uses this parable to teach about his return on the Last Day. Jesus is the Bridegroom. You are waiting for him to arrive, and he tells you to keep watch. So how do you do that? Look for him to check in on Facebook or post on Instagram? Buy a telescope and study the sky nonstop? No. When Jesus tells you to keep watch, he’s not telling you to stare up into the sky. “Keep watch” is another way of saying, “Be ready.” Just as the wise virgins had to be ready at all times, you also must be ready since you do not know when Jesus will return.
But who hasn’t lived like a fool? Hearing God’s Word one day and then living your own way the next. Hating the same people, giving in to the same sins, finding more ways to please yourself instead of new ways to serve others—all while forgetting Jesus’ pending arrival.
So Jesus speaks this parable to remind you that you need to be ready. Where does that readiness come from? Your readiness comes from God!
On the tree of the cross, God the Son was crushed for your iniquities and paid for your sins. At your baptism, God the Spirit readied you by writing God’s name on you and adopting you into his family. In his holy Word, God the Father constantly calls you to repentance and prepares you to enter the heavenly banquet.
When Jesus returns on the Last Day, you will be ready because of him and what he has given you. So keep watch! Light your lamp and live in Christ.
Lord, keep me ready for your arrival on the Last Day. Come quickly, Lord Jesus! Amen.
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