Pastor Reflections - Lars
Matthew 25:1 “Then the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. 2 Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. 3 For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them, 4 but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps. 5 As the bridegroom was delayed, they all became drowsy and slept. 6 But at midnight there was a cry, ‘Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’ 7 Then all those virgins rose and trimmed their lamps. 8 And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ 9 But the wise answered, saying, ‘Since there will not be enough for us and for you, go rather to the dealers and buy for yourselves.’ 10 And while they were going to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was shut. 11 Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open to us.’ 12 But he answered, ‘Truly, I say to you, I do not know you.’ 13 Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.
Readiness indicates real relationship with Jesus.
First century weddings in Palestine had multiple phases. The first phase was actually before the wedding proper. The betrothal period was a binding engagement that required a divorce to terminate (e.g. Joseph's initial intention with Mary after she became pregnant). As the day approached, the bridegroom and his party would go to the bride's home (or designated place) for the wedding ceremony. Afterward, there was a procession usually to the bridegroom's home for a feast that could last several days. This procession often took place at night, requiring lamps. These ten virgins in the parable are young unmarried girls attending the bride (like bridesmaids) who would go out to meet the bridegroom and join in the procession to his home for the feast.
In Jesus' story, the bridegroom took longer than expected. This delay revealed a distinction between the bridesmaids. Five girls were prepared and ready, while the other five were not. The latter missed out, which more importantly revealed something about their relationship to the bridegroom. When they come later, they are not welcomed into the feast. The door is shut on them.
The five girls called "wise" in the story were ready. They took the bridegroom's arrival seriously and prioritized it. It was later than expected, but they were watching and ready.
The five girls called "foolish" in the story were not ready. They did not prioritize the bridegroom's arrival, and were not prepared. This lack of priority and seriousness indicated something profoundly deeper. The bridegroom tells them they do not have the relationship with him they claim to have: "Truly, I say to you, I do not know you". Jesus then tells us the point of the story "Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour."
On Saturday we were expecting the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds to fly through the sky at 1:30pm honoring the frontline workers in the pandemic. My son was pretty excited. I was also looking forward to it! As we looked up and waited, it became clear there was a delay... Ultimately my son went back inside. I took my dog on a walk and listened to a podcast. About 20 minutes later, I walked by a friend's house where he was on his roof yelling down to me, "did you see the jet flyover?!!". I told him I missed it, and didn't hear anything through my earphones. I thought it would be neat to see, but I didn't take it very seriously, did I? The delay was the same for both of us. My friend was ready and took it seriously. Not me. This lack of watching and readiness revealed something about my heart as it relates to the Thunderbirds. I claimed to look forward to this flyover, but ultimately there were other things that were more important to me. My friend took it so seriously he went top on his roof (a wet roof I might add - as it was raining)! Yes, there was a delay, but he wasn't going to miss it for anything!
As the Lord tarries, followers of Jesus do not know how long this life will last. We do not know the day or the hour, but we do know that Jesus will return as he promised to consummate his kingdom. Like the Thunderbirds, it is taking longer than expected. Yet, how much MORE SO do we want to take Jesus seriously?! Do you want to be ready?! Does your life reflect that readiness?! Are you watching and praying for his kingdom to be consummated (as he modeled for us to pray "your kingdom come")?! Are you thirsting for the righteousness he calls for in kingdom life now?! Woe to those who are not ready! Many claim to be Christians and think they are Christians. Yet, for some, their lack of genuine relationship with Jesus will be exposed on that day. They are not watching, and are not ready. They will not be allowed into the celebration. The door will be shut. They will hear those dreadful words "I do not know you".
Readiness indicates real relationship with Jesus.
Do you know him?