Christians of every generation have been interested in the return of Christ to the earth. And no surprise: the second coming of Christ has been the hope of the church in every age. Using the parable of the bridesmaids Jesus Himself instructed us to “keep awake” and be aware of the signs of the times.
The Parable of the Bridesmaids
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, 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. ‘Sir! Sir!’ they said. ‘Open the door for us!’
But he replied, ‘I tell you the truth, I don’t know you.’
Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour. – Matthew 25: 1-13
In this parable Jesus gives his disciples the assurance of his return and provides instructions for how they should order their lives in light of the promise of his coming. His message was not only for them; it is for us as well. What can we learn from the Lord’s story?
4 Lessons From Parable of the Bridesmaids
1. We Wait Together
From the very opening words of the parable of the bridesmaids we can discover something about the community of faith: we wait together for his return. His coming will certainly involve personal accountability as Jesus returns to judge each person, but until he arrives we are called to remain in community.
It is a fact demonstrated in every century and every culture: Christians flourish in community and wither when they attempt the Christian life on their own. We have a duty to await the bridegroom together.
2. We carry the Light
The young women in this story also carry lanterns. It is a beautiful image of those pure in their faith, filled with expectancy, acting in obedience to the Lord’s command to be the light of the world. Jesus said, “While I am in the world, I am the light of the world” (John 9:5). But he also said to his followers, “You are the light of the world” (Matt. 5:14).
In his absence he wants us to carry God’s light. In a world darkened by sin we are the evidence that a new day is coming. For some people trapped in the darkness of depression or disobedience, we may be the only light they see. And the light we carry is not our own, it comes from the Spirit he has given us.