12 Weeks of Prayer Week 5 Day 1
Which Five Are YOU? The Separation is Beginning.
By Rev. Dr. Teresa Citro
Founder and President of Thread of Hope
“Then 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. Those who were foolish, when they took their lamps, took no oil with them, but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. Now while the bridegroom delayed, they all slumbered and slept. But at midnight there was a cry, "Behold! The bridegroom is coming! Come out to meet him!" Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. The foolish said to the wise, "Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out." But the wise answered, saying, "What if there isn't enough for us and you? You go rather to those who sell, and buy for yourselves." While they went away to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was shut. Afterward the other virgins also came, saying, "Lord, Lord, open to us." But he answered, "Most certainly I tell you, I don't know you." Watch therefore, for you don't know the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming.” Mathew 25:1-13
To fully understand the meaning of this parable we must learn about the significance of Jewish Weddings of that day. There were three very significant practices that took place in three stages. Let’s look at them.
The first. “The engagement.” This was a formal agreement that was made by the fathers of the bride and groom. It is important to understand this was a legal document even if the couple lived at their parents’ house. They were married by law.
The second. “The betrothal.” This is when they made their promises to each other while remaining at their parents’ house.
The third. “The marriage.” This occurred approximately one year later or when the bridegroom was finished preparing the home for his bride. The bride never knew when that day would be. He showed up unexpected to take his bride home. Imagine the stress for the bride.
The virgins were, what we call today, bride maids. They were there to help and attend to the bride. It was their duty to go out and meet the bridegroom with their lamps lit. It was to accompany him, those who were with him, into the house and to the bride who was waiting for her bridegroom. The number of the virgins is significant as well. It is believed that there were ten lamps in a bridal procession which was a common size wedding party. We know this to be true according to our own traditions for those who follow it, we have six.
Therefore, we are now at the final stage of the wedding. Everything has already taken place. The ten virgins are waiting for the groom to take his bride home. They are the ones to go into the street at the sound of the bridegroom coming. They can hear the instruments playing, singing, and rejoicing. They can hear him in the distance before they can see him. It is their job to be sure there is oil in their lamps in case he came at night. It was customary for the bridegroom to come in the evening. Remember, he was coming for one thing only: to pick his bride and take her home to be with him. The consummation of the marriage was about to take place.
In this story, five of them had no oil in their lamps. How foolish was that? They knew their jobs, and what was expected of them. The bridegroom wasn’t going to turn around and go back because foolish young women didn’t keep their oil in the lamps. He had one thought, and one intention. His bride, the woman he loved was waiting for him. Oil or no oil in the lamps he came to get his bride. Nothing would stop him.
Here we have ten (10) virgins. Five were wise taking their jobs seriously and the other five foolish. Now the five that were not prepared wanted oil from the virgins that were prepared. Please understand that the wise virgins were not being selfish or unkind by not sharing. They had only for themselves.
Let me further explain from a spiritual perspective. The kind of oil needed to illuminate the way for the bridegroom to the house of the bride was not shareable. In other words, the illumination to light up the way in a dark and dreary road in complete darkness is not shareable. How can we share our personal way of walking in obedience, holiness, righteousness? How can we share our own personal commitment in our attitudes to serve God? How can I ask another to share with me their own faith? We cannot, and that is the point. We must do those things for ourselves. We cannot act any which way and think God will forgive us should He come as the bridegroom in the sky or by calling us home. Nobody knows the time for his return or either own death. " While they went away to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was shut. Afterward the other virgins also came, saying, "Lord, Lord, open to us." But he answered, "Most certainly I tell you, I don't know you."
Just like those five virgins that made sure they remained steadfast and loyal to their friends, the bridegroom and bride. They were reliable, dependable, and trustworthy. They were constantly looking out for the bridegroom to come for the bride. They were ready. They were going to go inside for the biggest celebration. They were dependable. They were devoted to the couple. They held fast to the oil in their lamps. They were committed a hundred percent. They were dutiful, meaning very conscientious and obedient in fulfilling their duty to the call they had, virgins with oil in their lamps. They didn’t slumber and sleep on the job.
Friends, we are waiting for the Bridegroom, the Lord Jesus Christ to take us, His beautiful bride home. You and I cannot think for one moment that we can live in a state slumber and complacency and think we will be taken. The day of the separation of the goats and sheep is here. Jesus is coming for a bride without spot and wrinkle. Do you think that the bride that was waiting for her bridegroom, not knowing what time of day he was coming let herself go? No! She was committed to making sure she looked her best for her love, the bridegroom. She was faithful in maintaining herself ready at a second notice. She was unwavering in her faith in her husband to come get her. She stood firm, stable in her ways, steady, unswerving, and unchanging in her preparedness hoping this was the day or night he was coming for her. She trusted with all her heart he would come. She was completely dedicated to her bridegroom. She was going to be sure her husband found her ready to go with him.
Please understand this. The bride was prepared. It was no concern of hers that the five virgins didn’t have their oil. She was prepared and ready filled with joy and happiness that her bridegroom had arrived. The five prepared virgins got to be a part of the great celebration and rejoicing that took place. The other five completely missed out.
I leave you with this thought. Imagine you were there for the first two rituals and then missed the most important and final moment for the wedding. Everyone was waiting for this one moment in time to bring the two together: the arrival of the bridegroom and the biggest ending to the celebration of the wedding?
We are here at this very moment in time from a spiritual perspective. We have been waiting for our bridegroom to come. If God gives us life until we actually see Him in the air is not the point. God can call us home at any moment. Are we ready? How are we living our lives in a world that wants to make us, by force accept lifestyles that are evil in the face of God? You and I are the light of this world. Are we shining brightly for him? Are we standing firm, steadfast, unashamed, and unapologetic for the Word of the Living God?
The separation between goats and sheep will be very painful. Pray that the Lord uses us to shine brightly, showing the lost in the household of God the way. Our job is to showcase Him. Just like the five virgins who were ready couldn’t share their oil because they needed it for themselves to meet the bridegroom. It’s a difficult devotional to write. Yet, I hear so many brokenhearted people who are trying to win others over. We don’t have this power. We can pray and showcase the love of Jesus Christ and allow the light in us to light and pave the way for others. However, we cannot make anyone obey, serve, and live lives of righteousness, holiness, and obedience to Jesus Christ. It is a personal choice. We must stand for truth of God’s Word. It has the power to change lives, not us. We present it and pray for the lost.
Stay the course, walk in obedience, and live lives of honor before Jesus Christ. Let others see Jesus in you, not by agreeing to sin and overlooking it, rather, by loving them by sharing the Word of God in love, and in truth. Never compromising on sin and personal beliefs. Always pray God will open their eyes to His truth. We must reject the world’s view. We live for the views of the Bible and uphold His commandments. We do what it says, and we are guaranteed eternal life. Have your oil ready to light the way for others to follow.
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