In Matthew 25 Jesus tells us parables to help us grasp important concepts about the end of time, aka his return.
The first story is about 10 virgins. When my son Aaron was about 5 he asked me what a virgin was. From the look on his face and the discussion I had with Mary afterwards, I have determined that My answer was too accurate for a 5 year old brain. I recommend from experience that we define a virgin as an unmarried woman.
Let’s read the story.
Matthew 25:1-13 “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 ones, 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. ‘Lord, Lord,’ they said, ‘open the door for us!’ “But he replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I don’t know you.’ “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.”
When I was in 3rd or 4th grade my mom bought me a basketball. Well I thought it was a basketball. It was a ball, it had lines on it like a basketball. It bounced and rolled like a basketball. I had a new friend Matt Millier that came over to play, I suggested that we play basketball he agreed, he was good at any and every sport he played. I brought out my new ball and he said “that isn’t a basketball”. I was deflated. I argued but it became evident that I had been wrong. My basketball was a reasonable facsimile. It was not the real thing. It was a cheap plastic play ball that was painted or printed to look like a basketball.
When I first read this story in Matthew and saw that the ladies fell asleep I thought that the sleep thing would be the point Jesus would make. It wasn’t.
Of the ten virgins waiting for the bridegroom it seems that 5 were genuinely part of the party. The other 5 were reasonable facsimiles. We can tell that they weren’t the genuine article because the bridegroom says “Truly I tell you, I don’t know you.”
We see in the virgins not preparing for the long wait that they were not genuine in their relationship with the awaited bridegroom.
We need to be careful to look at our own hearts and our faith to make sure we have the faith to wait, and the love and longing for our bridegrooms return. We need to be genuine Followers of Jesus, not reasonable facsimiles.
Matthew Millier, if I didn’t say it then I will say it now, you were right, that wasn’t a basketball.
(Originally posted 9-8-17)