Jesus is continuing His teachings/parables about the end times.
The first parable is that at that time, the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins with lamps waiting for the bridegroom.
- Five of the virgins were wise and brought lamps with some additional oil.
- Five of the virgins were foolish and brought their lamps, but no additional oil.
- As they wait for the bridegroom, all ten of the virgins fall asleep
- At midnight they are all awoken by the announcement that the bridegroom has arrived.
- The five foolish virgins realize they need more oil as their lamps start to go out. They ask the other five to share in their reserves.
- However, the five wise virgins refuse to share, as there might not be enough oil for everyone to last. Instead, they tell the foolish ones to go and buy more.
- While the five are away buying oil, the bridegroom comes and takes the five wise ones into the wedding banquet.
- When the five foolish ones return, they are not allowed in and receive the reply “I tell you the truth, I don’t know you.”
- Therefore, we should keep watch because we do not know the day or even the hour of His return.
The second parable is like a man going on a journey and entrusting his servants with his property.
- To the one servant, he gave five talents.
- To another he gave two talents.
- To another he gave one talents.
- While the man was away, the servants who had been given five and two talents both went and put the money to work and doubled their money.
- The servant who had been given one talent dug a hole in the ground and buried what he had been given.
- It says that the master returns from his journey after a long time.
- The servant who had been entrusted with five talents presented his master with another five. Because of his faithfulness, he is put in charge of many things and is invited to share in his master’s happiness
- The servant who had been entrusted with two talents presented his mater with another two. He is given the same reply as the first servant; because of his faithfulness, he is put in charge of many things and is invited to share in his master’s happiness.
- The servant who had been entrusted with one talents presents his master with the same talent he had been given. He explains that he knew of his master’s ability to harvest where he did not sow and gather where he did not put seed. Out of fear, he hid the talent in the ground so that he could return what was entrusted to him.
- The master replies that the servant was wicked and lazy. If he truly recognized how his master did business, then at the very least he should have put the talent in the bank and brought some interest that would have been gained.
- Because of this, the one talent was taken from him and given to the one who had ten. Because everyone who has will be given more (an abundance!) and he who does not have will have even more taken from him. Finally, the servant was thrown outside, into the darkness, where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth.
The third parable is like the separating of sheep and goats.
- When the Son of Man comes with all his angels, all the nations will be gathered before him.
- The Son of Man will separate the people, one from another, as a shepherd separates sheep from goats. The sheep will be on the right and the goats will be on the left. (this imagery is very personal, seems to be implying that Jesus Himself will be the one to separate every single person into the two groups)
- To those who are on the right, the sheep, the King (the Son of Man) will tell them to come and receive their inheritance, the kingdom that was prepared for them since the creation of the world.
- When He was hungry they had given Him something to eat. When He was thirsty they had given Him something to drink. He was a stranger but they welcomed Him into their home. He was naked and they clothed Him. He was sick and they took care of Him. He was in prison and they came to visit Him.
- But the righteous will give a confused answer, saying they never did those things for Him.
- Jesus will reply that whatever they had done for the least of His brothers, they did for Him.
- To those on the left, the goats, he will demand that they leave His presence at once for they are cursed and will go into the eternal fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels.
- For He was hungry and they gave Him nothing to eat. He was thirsty and they gave Him nothing to drink. He was a stranger and they did not invite Him in. He needed clothes but they did not clothe Him. He was sick and in prison and they did not look after Him.
- They will reply that they never recognized times when He needed help and they did not help Him.
- Jesus will reply that whatever they had not done for the least of these (the brothers), they did not do for Him.
- Then those on the left will go away to eternal punishment and those on the right to eternal life.
There’s a lot of heavy stuff in this chapter. If I were to sum up the main themes from these three parables it is that we will be held accountable. I will be held accountable for what Jesus has entrusted me with while He is away. That is my personal giftings, relationships, time, opportunities that arose (as seen in the sheep and the goats), my readiness for His return, and more. Every aspect of my life will be held accountable before Jesus when He returns.
I realize that for me it is a daily struggle to use the time I have been given wisely. If I spent more time praying over everything I have been entrusted with, I’m sure I would see more fruit. Today I need to apply a humble heart to recognize my accountability and responsibility before God, eyes to see where He wants me to move, and a will to respond to that calling.
Jesus, I thank you that you set the example for faithfulness and obedience. To know that you have gone before me and do not ask me to do something you were not willing to do gives me the courage to step forward. I don’t have all the answers but I know following your example will turn out okay in the end. Would you help me to be aware and obedient today. Amen.
Posted on Tue, September 22, 2015
by Brian Landers