1The kingdom of heaven is like what happened one night when ten girls took their oil lamps and went to a wedding to meet the groom.2Five of the girls were foolish and five were wise.3The foolish ones took their lamps, but no extra oil.4The ones who were wise took along extra oil for their lamps.
5The groom was late arriving, and the girls became drowsy and fell asleep.6Then in the middle of the night someone shouted, “Here's the groom! Come to meet him!”
7When the girls got up and started getting their lamps ready,8the foolish ones said to the others, “Let us have some of your oil! Our lamps are going out.”
9The girls who were wise answered, “There's not enough oil for all of us! Go and buy some for yourselves.”
10While the foolish girls were on their way to get some oil, the groom arrived. The girls who were ready went into the wedding, and the doors were closed.11Later the other girls returned and shouted, “Sir, sir! Open the door for us!”
12But the groom replied, “I don't even know you!”
13So, my disciples, always be ready! You don't know the day or the time when all this will happen.
Contemporary English Version. Copyright © 1995 British & Foreign Bible Society. Used by permission.
Jesus loved to teach using parables, heavenly stories with earthly meaning. They drove home the kingdom principle he had been making as he was teaching his disciples.
Smack in the middle of his lessons on his return, he tells a parable. It is the story of a groom who arrives at midnight to collect a house full of young women. The point being that he arrived at midnight. It was dark.
Five of the women had thought ahead and had brought oil with them for their torches. The other five had not. When the groom arrived the five who had thought to bring oil were able to go out into the night with the groom. They arrived at the wedding banquet and the door was shut.
Throughout his teaching on his second coming, Jesus makes it clear that there are two groups on earth – those who are ready for his return and those who are not. The parable of ten virgins makes the same point in heavenly-story-with-earthly-meaning fashion. The oil is a picture of salvation. Jesus is the bridegroom. And the virgins represent the people of the world.
When Jesus returns, those who have oil, who have placed their faith and trust in Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord, will join him at the eternal wedding banquet. Those who have not trusted Christ will not. That`s why the five virgins with oil could not give their oil to the others. Salvation is a personal experience – our “oil” must be received directly from God himself through faith in Jesus Christ.
There was a song popular a few years ago among Christian young people: “Give me oil in my lamp, keep me burning.”It was often sung flippantly. There is nothing flippant about the point Jesus is making with this parable. Each and every human being must decide whether or not to accept the free gift of eternal life that Jesus alone offers. To do so guarantees that we will go out with him to the eternal wedding banquet. The choice is yours.
Lord Jesus, I thank you that by your death and resurrection, it is possible for me to obtain eternal life through repentance and faith. I invite you to take away my sin and to come into my life to be my Saviour and Lord. I look forward now to the day when you will come again, and take me to be with you forever. In your name I pray. Amen.