Jesus used many parables in His teaching. His parables are stories that illustrate one or more spiritual principles. Jesus gave the parable of the wise and foolish virgins in Matthew 25:1-13 “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.’ 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. Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open to us!’ But he answered and said, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, I do not know you.’ Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming.” Jesus gave this parable to teach important principles about the kingdom of heaven.
This parable is about a wedding that followed the customs that were common during the time of Jesus. A wedding would often be held in the evening or at night. Many friends and relatives would attend and would wait for the arrival of the bridegroom to welcome him so that the wedding could begin. Since the wedding was at night, the guests would have lamps or torches that were lit to provide light when the bridegroom arrived.
Jesus is the bridegroom. In the book of the Revelation, we also read about the marriage of the Lamb (Jesus). Revelation 19:7 “Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.” The wife of Jesus is understood to be the church; in the end, the church will be married to Jesus. From the parable, the virgins would be true believers. Virgins had not been intimate with men, but were pure. True believers are also pure and holy. But five of the virgins were wise and five were foolish. Some believers are wise and some are foolish. The five wise virgins not only had oil in their lamps, but they had extra oil in their vessels to replenish their lamps if the bridegroom took a long time in coming. The five foolish virgins did not have extra oil and were therefore unprepared when the bridegroom was delayed in coming. When they went to buy extra oil, the bridegroom came and shut the door. When the foolish virgins returned, the bridegroom would not let them enter to participate in the wedding and told them that he did not know them.
What can you learn from this parable and how can you apply it to yourself today? You do not want to be turned away when Jesus returns someday. In this parable, it was not a matter of being pure and holy, even though we know that is important. It was a matter of being ready when the bridegroom returned. You and I must be ready when Jesus returns. Jesus said “Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming.”
Jesus gave additional admonition to watch in Matthew 24:36-44 “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only. But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. Then two men will be in the field: one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding at the mill: one will be taken and the other left. Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming. But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into. Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.” Mark 13:35-37 “Watch therefore, for you do not know when the master of the house is coming — in the evening, at midnight, at the crowing of the rooster, or in the morning — lest, coming suddenly, he find you sleeping. And what I say to you, I say to all: Watch!”
Revelation 3:1-3 “And to the angel of the church in Sardis write, ‘These things says He who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars: ‘I know your works, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead. Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die, for I have not found your works perfect before God. Remember therefore how you have received and heard; hold fast and repent. Therefore if you will not watch, I will come upon you as a thief, and you will not know what hour I will come upon you.” 1 Corinthians 16:13 “Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong.”
From these scriptures, we get an idea as to what it means to watch. It means to be ready for the return of Jesus to be at any time. It means to strengthen the things that are weak and correct the works that are not perfect before God. It means to stand fast in the faith, be brave, and be strong. It means to not sleep spiritually. 1 Thessalonians 5:6-8 “Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk are drunk at night. But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation.” My encouragement to you is to watch and be ready for Jesus to return.