The Advanced Level (High school certificate) results were out recently. Students received not only their results but also their rank in the district. A certain number of seats for University are allocated per district. Not all are chosen, only a few are chosen – based on their performance and not necessarily their potential. The student may be brilliant but have a fear of exams or may have been unwell and thus not have been able to do their best – sadly they miss out on securing entrance to University. There are limited seats and limited resources so only a few can be chosen.
We read a parable in the Bible where 10 people were waiting to secure ‘entrance’ too. (Please don’t skip ahead saying you know the passage as God’s Word is true and living, and will never fail to speak… If you are reading this right now, please have faith that there is a purpose for it!)
Matthew 25:1-13 describes the parable of the ten virgins, five of whom were foolish and five were wise. All ten took their lamps but only five took extra oil with them to wait for the bridegroom, whom they expected. However as he was delaying, they got tired and fell asleep. When he arrived, the five who had come prepared lit their lamps while the foolish ones asked the wise ones for some. The wise ones refused to give them so off went the foolish ones to buy oil. In the meantime the bridegroom arrived. THe wise virgins entered and the door was locked.
Ok.. we all know this story. How much have we meditated on these words and wondered how it applies to us?
- What does the term ‘virgin’ mean? Why do you think it was ‘virgins’ that were mentioned in this parable instead of simply people or females for that matter?
- What does the lamp signify? What about the oil? What is the purpose of the oil?
- On what basis were the virgins classified ‘wise’ and ‘foolish’? What was the ratio of wise to foolish?
- What does the refusal of sharing of oil by the wise with the foolish signify?
- When the foolish virgins arrived and they knocked on the closed door, what was told to them?
A virgin is one who hasn’t become one flesh with another, she is ‘set apart’. The virgin signifies a believer, who is in the world but not of the world, who is set apart for God. We believers are the brides of the groom, Jesus Christ. These virgins carried a lamp. Yet only HALF of them carried extra oil. All 10 of them obviously wanted to meet the bridegroom but not all of them were truly prepared to meet him, they were not ready.
The Psalmist sings, “Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (119:105). We can profess to be believers and carry our Bibles like the virgins but we will be like the foolish virgins who are in one sense hypocrites, as they said one thing with their tongues and did another with their actions. Having our Bibles and perhaps having read it once is not enough. Just like lamps need to be re-fuelled to give out light and thus provide direction for our steps, we need to keep meditating on God’s Word and having a relationship with Him to get the illumination / revelation from His Word through the Holy Spirit.
The foolish ones approached the wise ones for more oil. They tried to depend on them to secure their entrance to the banquet. Salvation can’t be secured by leeching on another! It has to be based on your relationship with God! Yes we have the right to become Sons of God when we believe but we are the Sons of God when we are led by the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:14).
Despite having had the lamps in their hands, the foolish virgins were told that the bridegroom didn’t know them. These were the very virgins that had waited for his arrival. Their oil had run out – their first love was no longer that they didn’t have a RELATIONSHIP with God. It is only through God’s Word that we get to know Him deeper and deeper…
- If Jesus were to come today, would He say that He knows you???
- Are you a sincere believer who has a relationship with Him or are you a hypocrite who professes to be a Christian and carries the Bible yet stops with that?
- Where is your focus today? Are you spending time with Him??? Are you getting to know Him more and more or have you stopped with your first love?
Unlike the students waiting for the University entrance based on works, in the scheme of God’s Kingdom, ALL have the opportunity to enter and which is not based on works but rather it is about RELATIONSHIP… The world tends to be TASK ORIENTED and not people oriented. However being a believer is centred on love, on two fold relationships – with God and with each other. Tasks follow but it isn’t the tasks that allow you into heaven. You have the gift of salvation by the work of Christ on the cross, but are you choosing to accept it by having a relationship with Christ?
Like with the students, only a few are chosen to enter the Kingdom of Heaven – the few who opt to take not the wide road, but rather the narrow path despite struggles, despite stumbling, despite troubles… They continue to look upward and are secure in their position in Christ and are led by the Holy Spirit. Only few are chosen – those who have a relationship with God.