The 10 Virgins
1 “Then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. 2 Now five of them were wise, and five were foolish. 3 Those who were foolish took their lamps and took no oil with them, 4 but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. 5 But while the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept.
Matthew 25 continues with a focus on prophecy and the end of times. It begins with an amazing parable about ten virgins. The word virgins here actually represents young, unmarried girls as those in those days would see a directly correlation between both ideas. All that Jesus says about these virgins is that there are ten of them, they all have lamps and that five are foolish and five wise. What makes them wise or foolish? Some took oil with them and some didn’t.
The only other major player in the story is the bridegroom. It’s very interesting that Jesus says that the bridegroom was delayed, especially since the bridegroom represents himself. Because of the delay all ten, both wise and foolish, end up falling asleep while they waited.
Next week we will continue with the story but for today I want to focus on two points. The first is in the use of the number 10. If you go through the Bible you’ll notice that 10 is always connected to a test of faith. From the 10 Commandments, 10 plagues of Egypt, Tithe, 10 lepers of Luke 17, parable of the 10 silver coins and others if you search for them. And what I mean by God testing our faith is that God gives us laws, situations and ideals to wrestle with and grow from. He creates situations that help us to grow in faith. This parable of the 10 virgins is all about faith as we’ll see in the following weeks.
The second thing I wanted to mention is that, as the groom or Jesus is delayed in coming, all 10 virgins fall asleep. Just like the disciples in Gethsemane, it will not be our own human strength that will allow us to be ready for Jesus’s coming. Just like Jesus said to his disciples, ‘The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.’ It is the Holy Spirit that holds the key to what we need to truly be ready. Next week we will see more.
Pr. Steven Couto