The Oil of Readiness

Matthew 25:1–13 (NKJV)

“Then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Now five of them were wise, and five were foolish. Those who were foolish took their lamps and took no oil with them, but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. But while the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept.

“And at midnight a cry was heard: ‘Behold, the bridegroom is coming; go out to meet him!’ Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ But the wise answered, saying, ‘No, lest there should not be enough for us and you; but go rather to those who sell, and buy for yourselves.’ 10 And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding; and the door was shut.

11 “Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open to us!’ 12 But he answered and said, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, I do not know you.’

13 “Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming.

Matthew 25:1 – 13

After Jesus’ parable of the good and evil servants, He then gives another example of the need to be ready in the parable of the wise and foolish virgins. Several things are important to note in this parable. First, the result of the virgins actions are what is likened to the kingdom of heaven. While many concentrate on the fact that they are virgins, or attendants of the bride, it is actually their readiness for the wedding ceremony that matters the most. Is there oil in their lamps?

Second, the nature of the oil is important to understand. Is it their good works? It is not likely, or that would indicate a works-based salvation. More likely is the presence of the Holy Spirit or the continued relationship with Christ that would signify sufficient oil in their lamps. Does this then speak to readiness for the rapture for all, or readiness for the Christian? I think the application is more related to all people and their need to be saved. However, it could also serve as a sobering reminder to Christians to make sure oil remains and that their relationship with Christ is alive and strong in preparation for His coming.

Finally, this parable shows us the finality of the rapture. When Jesus raptures His church, there will be no time to “get things right” with God. Be sure that you are ready at all times for the coming of the Lord. He is looking for those who are ready and watching for His return. How do we keep oil in our lamps? By living the life of Christ through prayer, study of the Word, and holy living. Walking with Jesus is a consistent and deep commitment to knowing Him daily.

Artwork from https://www.alittleperspective.com/matthew-25-2016/Open publish panel

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